Maikel Cleto

Cubs Sign Four Free-Agent Pitchers to Minor League Contracts

12/14 UPDATE: Baseball America reports that the Cubs have re-signed three of the four players who were non-tendered on 12/2 to 2017 minor league contracts: LHP , RHP  (claimed off waivers from NYY last month), and LHP .

All three will presumably receive an NRI to Spring Training. 

The fourth non-tendered player (3B ) did not re-sign with the Cubs, so he will probably try his luck with a new organization (could be seeking a major league deal). Villanueva would be blocked by both Kris Bryant and Jeimer Candelario if he were to remain with the Cubs. 

Concepcion was non-tendered so that the Cubs would not have to pay him a $600,000 minor league "split salary" in 2017, Mullee missed the last half of the 2016 season with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (may have undergone surgery), and Rosscup underwent shoulder surgery last March. 

By non-tendering Concepcion, Mullee, and Rosscup and then re-signing them to minor league contracts, the Cubs were able to remove the trio from the MLB 40-man roster without exposing the players to waivers, and by waiting a week to re-sign them, the Cubs did not risk losing them in the Rule 5 Draft. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ORIGINAL POST (12/13) - Baseball America is reporting that the Cubs have signed four free-agent pitchers to 2017 minor league contracts.

All four will likely receive an NRI to Spring Training with the big club.

Three of the names are probably somewhat familiar, as two of them have pitched in the big leagues with other MLB organizations, and a third was in the Cubs minor league system last season. 

As a practical matter the four were officially signed after the Rule 5 Draft so that they would not be eligible for selection, but the contracts were likely negotiated sometime earlier in the off-season.