Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

60 players are at MLB Spring Training 

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full) 
20 players are MLB Spring Training NON-ROSTER INVITEES (NRI) 

Last updated 2-23-2024
* bats or throws left
# bats both

Yency Almonte
Adbert Alzolay 
Michael Arias
Javier Assad
Ben Brown
Jose Cuas
Kyle Hendricks
Porter Hodge
* Bailey Horn
* Shota Imanaga
Caleb Kilian
Mark Leiter Jr
* Luke Little
Julian Merryweather
Hector Neris 
Daniel Palencia
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele
Jameson Taillon
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski 
* Jordan Wicks

Colten Brewer 
Chris Clarke 
Carl Edwards Jr 
* Edwin Escobar 
* Richard Lovelady 
Sam McWilliams 
* Thomas Pannone 
Ethan Roberts 
Cam Sanders 
Riley Thompson 
* Brad Wieck 

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

Jorge Alfaro 
Pablo Aliendo
Joe Hudson 
Haydn McGeary
* Bryce Windham

* Michael Busch 
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Matt Mervis
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Luis Vazquez
Patrick Wisdom

David Bote 
Matt Shaw 
Chase Strumpf 

Kevin Alcantara
Alexander Canario
* Pete Crow-Armstrong
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman 

* Owen Caissie  

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

Cubs 2024 Rule 5 Draft and Minor League Free-Agent Watch List


The Cubs have released INF-OF Ezequiel Alvarez.


The Cubs have signed free-agent RHP Carl Edwards Jr to a 2024 minor league contract, and he will almost certainly receive an NRI to MLB Spring Training.

Edwards is an MLB Article XX-B free agent. If an Article XX-B MLB free-agent signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then is not selected to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or MLB 60-day Injured List by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day prior to MLB Opening Day, the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract immediately, or on May 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB 60-day IL by that date, or on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB IL by that date.
NOTE: The $100,000 retention bonus paid to an Article XX-B free-agent signed to a minor league contract who is not released or added to an MLB Active List or MLB 60-day IL by MLB Opening Day was eliminated in 2023.

Also, because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Edwards cannot be sent to the minors without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024 (he is out of minor league options, so this only applies to Edwards being sent outright to the minors if & when he is added to the 40). 



The Cubs have signed free-agent LHP Blake Weiman to a 2024 minor league contract. Weiman has never been on an MLB 40-man roster. 



The Cubs have signed free-agent LHP Richard Lovelady and RHP Sam McWilliams to 2024 minor league contracts. They both will presumably receive an NRI to MLB Spring Training. 

Should he be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024, Lovelady is out of minor league options, and he has the right to elect free-agency (immediately or deferred) if he is outrighted back to the minors (he has been outrighted previously in his career). Note that Lovelady had a fourth minor league option available for use in 2023 because he had accrued only four full seasons through the 2022 season, and he was in fact optioned to the minors in 2023, but he spent less than twenty days on optional assignment so the option was not spent. HOWEVER, he did accrue his fifth full season in 2024, and so the the fourth minor league option that was available in 2023 is not available in 2024. 

McWilliams has minor league options available, but he has the right to elect free-agency (immediately or deferred) if he is outrighted back to the minors after being added to the 40 (he has been outrighted previously in his career). 



OF-1B Nelson Maldonado (Cubs 2019 21st Round draft pick - U. of Florida) has retired. 

12/23 UPDATE

The Cubs have signed free-agent RHP Colten Brewer to a 2024 minor league contract. He will almost certainly receive an NRI to MLB Spring Training. 

If he is added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024, Brewer is out of minor league options, and he has the right elect free agency (immediately or deferred) if he outrighted back to the minors. 


12/14 UPDATE:

The Cubs have signed free-agent LHP Thomas Pannone and catchers Jorge Alfaro and Joe Hudson to 2024 minor league contracts. All three will almost certainly get an NRI to MLB Spring Training. 

Pannone (who was selected by the Cubs in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of HS but did not sign) is out of minor league options and he has the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted, in the event that he is added to the MLB 40-man roster at the some point in 2024.  

Not only is Alfaro out of minor league options, he is also an Article XIX-A player (he has accrued more than five years of MLB Service Time) so he cannot be outrighted to the minors without his consent if he were to be added to the MLB 40-man roster at some point in 2024. 

Hudson has accrued 0+131 MLB Service Time over the course of three separate "cups of coffee" in The Show (Angels in 2018, Cardinals in 2019, and the Mariners in 2020), as well as spending multiple minor league seasons in AAA with the Reds, Pirates, Rays, and Braves. Unlike Alfaro, Hudson has minor league options available, but he has been outrighted previously in his career so he has the right to elect free-agency if he were to be added to the 40 at some point in 2024 and then outrighted back to the minors.  



As things stand right now (2/15)...

Depending on whether or not Manuel Espinoza can be a minor league 6YFA post-2024 (TBD), 53 or 54 Cubs minor leaguers are eligible for selection in the December 2024 MLB Rule 5 Draft, and 36 or 37 Cubs minor leaguers (30 or 31 post-2024 6YFA and six 2024 second-contract players) are eligible to be declared MLB Rule 9 minor league free-agents at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the 2024 World Series (or at 5 PM Eastern on October 15th if the World Series is cancelled).

In addition, RHP Carl Edwards is a post-2023 MLB Article XX-B free agent who signed a 2024 minor league contract, so if he is not selected to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or MLB 60-day Injured List by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day prior to MLB Opening Day, he can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract immediately, or on May 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB 60-day IL by that date, or on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (26-man roster) or MLB IL by that date. Also, because he has Article XIX-A rights (meaning he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), Edwards cannot be sent to the minors without his consent if he is added to the 40 at some point in 2024 (he is out of minor league options, so this only applies to Edwards being sent outright to the minors if & when he is added to the 40). 

Among the notable Cubs first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles post-2024 are OFs Owen Caissie and Christian Franklin, 3B B. J. Murray, LHRP Riley Martin, and RHSP Walker Powell.      

Some of the noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who were eligible for selection in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft and who will be eligible again in 2024 include RHSP Chris Clarke, INF Chase Strumpf, and OF Yohendick Pinango.   

The most noteworthy Cubs minor leaguers who will be eligible to be an MLB Rule 9 minor league free-agent for the first time post-2024 (if the player is not added to the 40 or signs a 2024 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series) are RHSPs Kohl Franklin, Riley Thompson, and Luis Devers, RHRPs Ethan Roberts (second-contract player), Cam Sanders, and Blake Whitney, C Pablo Aliendo, INF Jake Slaughter, and OFs Cole Roederer and Ezequiel Pagan.    

The most noteworthy Cubs minor leaguer who will be eligible to be a Rule 9 minor league free-agent once again post-2024 (if he is not added to the 40 or signs a 2025 minor league successor contract prior to being declared a 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series) is RHRP Eduarniel Nunez.  

There are almost always one or two unexpected pop-up break-out guys every season, so a lot is still TBD.  

NOTE: If not added to the MLB 40-man roster, the players underlined and in bold below will likely be placed on the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/15 so that they will be eligible for selection only in the Major League Phase of the 2024 Rule 5 Draft. 

Max Bain, RHP   
Bradlee Beesley, OF  
Hunter Bigge, RHP
Yovanny Cabrera, RHP 
Owen Caissie, OF 
Hayden Cantrelle, INF 
Burl Carraway, LHP
Parker Chavers, OF 
Chris Clarke, RHP (Article XX-D player) 
Manuel Espinoza, RHP (see NOTE
Christian Franklin, OF 
Richard Gallardo, RHP
Angel Gonzalez, RHP 
Dilan Granadillo, C 
Ethan Hearn, C   
Angel Hernandez, LHP 
Frank Hernandez, 1B-C 
Darius Hill, OF 
Ed Howard, INF 
Chris Kachmar, RHP 
Ben Leeper, RHP
Zac Leigh, RHP 
Joel Machado, LHP
Riley Martin, LHP 
Luis Maza, INF 
Scott McKeon, INF 
Ismael Mena, OF  
Cristian More, OF 
Koen Moreno, RHP 
Rafael Morel, INF-OF
B. J. Murray,  3B-1B 
Joe Nahas, RHP     
Jordan Nwogu, OF 
Casey Opitz, C 
Johzan Oquendo, RHP 
Yohendrick Pinango, OF
Walker Powell, RHP 
Reggie Preciado, INF
Erian Rodriguez, RHP 
Jose Romero, RHP 
Albaro Santana, RHP (on Restricted List)
Tyler Santana, RHP 
Frankie Scalzo Jr, RHP 
Tyler Schlaffer, RHP  
Wally Soto, C-1B 
Liam Spence, INF 
Felix Stevens, 1B-OF
Chase Strumpf, INF
Anderson Suriel, OF-1B  
Sam Thoresen, RHP
Cayne Ueckert, RHP  
Chase Watkins, LHP 
Jacob Wetzel, OF 
Bryce Windham, C-INF
NOTE: Manuel Espinoza was signed as an IFA out of Mexico in July 2017, but approval of his contract was held up by MLB while the circumstances of his signing was investigated. He made his pro debut after the contract was approved during Spring Training 2019. Therefore, he can be a MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2024 - IF - he was retroactively awarded minor league service time credit for the 2018 season (TBD). 

Additionally, a free-agent who signs a 2025 minor league contract prior to the 2024 Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection if the player was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.

Jorge Alfaro, C (Article XIX-A player- out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Pablo Aliendo, C 
David Bote, INF (Article XX-D player - club option for 2025)
Colten Brewer, RHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Luis Devers, RHP
Jefferson Encarnacion, OF 
Edwin Escobar, LHP (out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Manuel Espinoza, RHP (see NOTE
Kohl Franklin, RHP
Reivaj Garcia, INF 
Saul Gonzalez, RHP 
Joe Hudson, C (Article XX-D player)
Caleb Knight, C
Richard Lovelady, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Sam McWilliams, RHP (Article XX-D player)
Juan Mora, INF
Eduarniel Nunez, RHP     
Miguel Pabon, INF-C
Ezequiel Pagan, OF
Thomas Pannone, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40)
Jack Patterson, LHP
Fabian Pertuz, INF 
Jake Reindl, RHP 
Cole Roederer, OF
Cam Sanders, RHP
Jake Slaughter, INF
Riley Thompson, RHP
Luis Verdugo, INF  
Blake Weiman, LHP
Blake Whitney, RHP   
Brad Wieck, LHP (Article XX-D player - out of minor league options if added to the 40) 
NOTE: Manuel Espinoza was signed as an IFA out of Mexico in July 2017, but approval of his contract was held up by MLB while the circumstances of his signing was investigated. He made his pro debut after the contract was approved during Spring Training 2019. Therefore, he can be a MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2024 only if he was retroactively awarded minor league service time credit for the 2018 season (TBD). 

Brayan Diaz, RHP (previously released by SEA) 
Fraiman Marte, RHP (previously released by STL) 
Francis Reynoso, RHP (ex-1B - previously released by STL) 
Ethan Roberts, RHP (previously non-tendered by CUBS) 
Dalton Stambaugh, LHP (previously released by BAL)
Jeral Vizcaino, RHP (previously released by MIL - see NOTE-2 below)  
NOTE-1: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2023 season (TBD).  
NOTE-2: If signed beyond the 2024 season, Jeral Vizcaino is - NOT - eligible for selection in the 2024 Rule 5 Draft



While OF Owen Caissie and 3B B. J. Murray are the Big Two Cubs Rule 5 Draft-eligibles post-2024 and (as things stand right now) are virtual locks to get added to the 40 post-2024 (if not earlier), and while it is very possible that post-2024 first-time Rule 5 Draft eligibles like LHRP Riley Martin and/or RHSP Walker Powell could emerge in 2024 as MLB contributors, there are going to be many more than the normal number of Cubs high-value actual prospects eligible to be minor league 6YFA post-2024 that the Cubs will have to watch closely, including C Pablo Aliendo, RHSP Kohl Franklin, OF Ezequiel Pagan, RHRP Eduarniel Nunez, RHSP Riley Thompson, INF Jake Slaughter, RHSP Luis Devers, OF Cole Roederer, and RHRP Cam Sanders. I can't remember the Cubs ever having a more noteworthy group of minor leaguers eligible to be minor league 6YFA free agents in the same season before. 

FINWE N: If you go by what Counsell did with the Brewers, he is much more likely to go with younger players than Ross was. I think part of it was that Ross was a "veteran players manager," meaning he was well liked and respected by veteran players because he was inclined to play them over younger unproven guys. 

And that actually might have been OK if the Cubs had been "sellers"at the trade deadline (as they clearly had planned to be before suddenly deciding to go fr it), because Ross would have played the veterans a lot the first four months of the season (which would have maximized their trade value), and then Ross would have had no choice but to play the younger guys the last two months after the veterans were traded. 

But of course it didn't work out that way. 

One thing about Craig Counsell that might have attracted Hoyer to him is that Counsel is very "collaborative" as a manager and welcomes and even demands lots of input from the analytics department. In fact I have heard tell that Counsell knows at least as much as the geeks know and that he routinely goes to them for information rather than waiting for it to be offered. So think of Ross as a Chevy pick-up truck, while Counsell is a Tesla. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

it is taking more than a minute for me to get used to craig counsell being the cubs manager.

he's going to take the field on opening day at wrigley and get massively cheered.

that is weird.  that's a thing that's happening, though.

history aside, while i am horrified at the amount of money they're paying him, i welcome his style of management over what d.ross has given the team.  love d.ross and how chill + ready to deliver he kept the team, but he had a serious pitching short-hook problem that exhausted the pen and some very questionable bench/pinch-hitting use.

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

Arizona P:

Totally agree. I was really wanting the Cubs to be sellers, and while hindsight is 20/20, that looks as though it may have been the best option; although, part of the reason they decided not to be sellers may have been what some of the returns we're going to be, so my thoughts are merely speculation based on lack of insight into the specifics of conversations leading up to the deadline. I find myself wanting us to allow the prospects to develop and play meaningful roles on the big league team, as I feel that we have quite a few that will become good if not prayerfully great players, but if we trade them away or sign players to fill their positions in a desperate attempt to contend now, I'm left wondering if approaching this year as a transition year, while giving some prospects time in the minors and then bringing them up to see what we have in them, and maybe looking at next year (2025) as more of a contention point may be the way to go, and may even be a catalyst in the long-term development of the consistency in contending that the franchise needs and letting things happen organically, rather than pressing or trying to control things and making a flurry of moves?

Irrespective, I think Counsel was a great choice for manager, now we just need to add some charging stations at Wrigley, maybe where the garage was?

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In reply to by WebAdmin

unless he pitches into his late-30 that is gonna sting.  a 70m DH...ow.

it's great to take care of 2 roster spots in 1 player, and i'm sure the team will cut into the pay with the amount of merch/etc he can sell just by being attached to the team....but yeah, i'm not mad the cubs didn't go that extreme.

i know it's still very early, but i'd like to go into the xmas-to-newyears part of the off-season with something more than...*checks list*...patrick wisdom avoids arbitration with a 1-year deal

also, steven brault retired and was spotted at the winter meetings with a demo reel and making contacts trying to break into broadcasting (not a joke).  unless he's more optimistic than talented (we already know he can sing) he should make it one day because he seems to be very serious about it.

"$68MM of Ohtani’s $70MM annual salary will be deferred, leaving him making just $2MM per year in the short term. The deferred money is to be paid out without interest from 2034 to 2043. This will reduce the CBT hit of the contract to around $46MM per year."

okay, then.  wow.  teams getting creative out here.

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In reply to by crunch

If the Dodgers had signed Ohtani to a 20/$700M deal without deferrals instead of 10/$700M with most of he salary deferred, Ohtani's AAV hit would have been $35M per year 2024-33, which is $10M less than what it is going to be now. A 15/$700M deal would result in a $46.7M AAV hit (just about exactly what it will be).  

The only thing that makes a 10/$700 contract with massive deferrals different from a 15/$700M or 20/$700 contract without any deferrals is that Ohtani is willing to be paid "just" $2M per year for the next ten years (most players would not be willing to do that), and that he will be a free-agent again after the 2033 season at age 39 (which would not be the case if it was a 15 or twenty year contract instead of ten years).

BTW, a hypothetical 15 year $700M contract would expire when Ohtani is 43. To put that in some context, Carlton Fisk played 106 games at catcher with the White Sox and was on the A. L, All-Star team when he was 43,. Ichiro was playing OF for the Miami Marlins at age 43 (he retired when he was 45), Nolan Ryan was in the Rangers starting rotation when he was 46, and Jamie Moyer was in the Rockies starting rotation at age 49, so given that Ohtani is Superman, he probably can play until he is at least 50. 

[ ]

In reply to by Dr. aaron b

As most know, Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter passed away about a year ago (Oct 2022) from Cancer. So his approval of the Otani contract came from Baseball Heaven.

His Braves contract had a long deferral and at the time, the size of the contract was significant for a closer in 1984. "When the Braves signed Bruce Sutter in 1984 to a 6-year, $9.1 million deal, they agreed to deferred payments with interest following the conclusion. Sutter received $1.12 million for 30 years and will get the final payment, a principal payment of $9.1 million in 2022." (per Mike Mayer, a Mets writer). I'm old enough to remember how dominant his split-finger fastball was (hitters flailed at the pitch even when they knew it was coming). As a Cub, he often pitched the last 2-3 innings of games he closed. The role of the closer was evolving in that baseball era. Remember the "Sandberg game" was in 1984 and Sutter was the Cardinals closer. The Cubs got Leon Durham, Ken Reitz and Ty Waller from Stl in the 1980-1 offseason. 

noticing that yamamoto has met with or set to meet with pretty much everyone but the cubs...much like ohtani...

so far the cubs have been linked to a slew of possible trade targets (with nothing serious) and kicking around multiple offers to r.hoskins.  hoskins...getting real tired of these bargain bin gambles as major off-season pieces rather than supporting help.  this isn't a small market team...

morel hits his 3rd homer of winter.  last night he bounced a double off the wall in left.  bat speed hasn't tired yet...

"Major League Baseball announced the creation of “Spring Breakout,” a four-day series of exhibition games in which an organization’s top prospects will participate in Spring Training contests against the best minor league talents of other teams. Next year’s event will take place between March 14 and 17."


yamamoto meeting with his 5th team of the off-season today.  spoiler: it's not the cubs...phillies this time.

Jeff Passan tweets that Glasnow and Margot to Dodgers if TG signs an extension…with right-hander Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Jonny Deluca in return going to Tampa. I wonder what Cub talent would have been equivalent.

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In reply to by Cubster

i dunno if the cubs have an equivalent to pepiot.  j.wicks isn't enough and j.steele is too much.

that said, i don't mind the cubs passing on glasnow.  the guy is allergic to staying healthy and while every game counts in the season, being able to actually pitch in october is also a thing.  he's got a bit of a history of being either injured or tired in october.

that said, i'm ready for the cubs to do something "big."  i wouldn't even mind a boring version of "big" like stroman coming back on a short multi-year deal.

From The Athletic:
"Teams are inquiring about Ben Brown and Hayden Wesneski, a pair of righties the Cubs acquired in separate trades for relievers David Robertson and Scott Effross at the 2022 deadline. The Cubs are not necessarily inclined to move either. But like the Giants, their willingness might increase if they add a veteran starter.
The improvement of the Cubs’ farm system, ranked sixth by Baseball America at midseason, creates newfound possibilities. To upgrade its offense and/or pitching, the team might be open to parting with young pitchers besides Brown and Wesneski as well as infielder/outfielder James Triantos, the Arizona Fall League offensive player of the year. Outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong, right-hander Cade Horton and shortstop Matt Shaw might be the only Cubs’ prospects who are untouchable."

So teams don't think Brown will ever play for the Cubs. Some teams still see Wesneski as a SP. And everyone thinks Shaw is big league can't miss hitter.
I'd still say don't trade Alcantara or ONKC unless you're getting someone under multi-yr control (now that the big Superstars are off the market).

There's lots of offseason left, but so far it very much feels lIke the Cubs are on the outside looking in. The lack of internal pressure to lean on the gas doesn't override for me that this division is up for grabs now. 

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

so far the strongest cubs rumor with any steam involves multiple back/forth offers for a 1st baseman who didn't even play in 2023 because of injuries.

there's always "woah, no idea" signings...and there's still parts of the market left.  the team needs a 1st baseman, probably a CF'r, and definitely a top-rotation SP...amongst other things.

[ ]

In reply to by Dolorous Jon Lester

they need a 3rd-capable guy at the very least to back up morel...even if that's madrigal or masterboney.

while i think morel will also play OF and 2nd, i think we're in for morel at 3rd unless he's traded.  he's closing in on 150 innings this winter at 3rd.

for some reason baseball-reference hasn't updated his winter stats in almost a week.  i dunno where else to snag his winter stats.

it's been fun watching him play, though my spanish isn't good enough to get any benefit from the announcers.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

baseball reference caught up on the week of missing morel stats.  he made 2 errors at 3rd this week, bringing him up to 4 in 162.2 innings.  i saw one of them during a game, bobbled catch...didn't see any of the others.  he's been playing almost exclusively 3rd for weeks.

he is done with his winter program.  final stats over 25 games...

.217/.369/.422 - 4 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers (103 PA, 25k - 16bb, 3 intentional), 5sb - 1cs

cubs, rsox, angels, and giants are finalists for shota imanaga (LHSP, 30yo).

he's been strongly linked to a giants pursuit from the outset of his availability.

cubs claim brain serven (C) off waivers from the rockies.

his talents include having a pulse and breathing.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Brian Serven has two minor league options available and he cannot elect free agency if he is outrighted, so he will probably be the main #3 catcher for the Cubs in 2024. However, Serven  is a Rule 9 player so he cannot be sent outright to the minors until he signs a 2024 contract, which he might not do until he reports to Spring Training next month.  

Joe Hudson (signed to a minor league contract last month) also has options available if he is added to the 40 at some point, but he is an Artiocle XX-D player and so he can elect free agency if he added to the 40 and then is subsequently outrighted. 

Jorge Alfaro (also signed to a minor league contract last month) has no options available and he can elect free-agency if he is outrighted after being added to the 40, but it really doesn't matter because he is an Article XIX-A player and so once he is added to the 40 he cannot be sent to the minors without his consent (which he is unlikely to give). At that point he would have to be either kept on the 40 as a third cacher, traded, or released. He also likely has multiple opt-outs (including Opening Day) in his contract if he is not added to the 40 by a certain date(s). 

So it is very possible that the only way the Cubs can retain Alfaro beyond Spring Training will be if Gomes or Amaya get hurt prior to Opening Day, and then if they don't want to lose him the Cubs would probably have to keep Alfaro as a third catcher once Gomes or Amaya is reinstated from the IL. Otherwise, it's probably just Serven and Hudson as MLB-ready back-up catchers at iowa in 2024. 

Interesting that this afternoon's MLBTR chat with Steve Adams had him guess the Cubs would sign Imanaga.

Somewhat happy about Imanga.  Maybe more that is they did something.  I assume he’s a starter by IP, but at least baseball-reference doesn’t have him starting since 2018.  Seems to have good control with BB/K.  That aside seems to give up a lot of hits and HRs.  Wrigley is not a place to pitch to HR pitchers.  Plus he’s 30 abd I read he has medical issues. Please do not tell me the Cubs are paying him like $20 million and just blew their whole cheap ass, budget all on the hopes of an unproven never pitched in the MLB player, w/o the hype like Ohtani, Darvish, Tanka etc.  Rather surprise the Dodgers and try to steal them and make it a trio of Japanese pitchers.

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In reply to by cubbies.4ever

he's a starter, bb-reference is missing his GS stats for some weird reason.  he threw 2 complete games last year...which is practically cubs HOF material for the club lately in that department.

i just hope he can keep the ball in the park and put in mostly injury-free work.

if MLB hitters can sit on his FB, that might be trouble.  he fools a lot of hitters on off-speed stuff, lot of chasing pitches, but he pounds the strike zone with fastball with great control over it.  if he tries to keep his walk totals too low by throwing too many fastballs...well, hope it works for him if he goes that route.

Jon Morosi reports Imanaga gets multiple years for 15mil per.

He takes Hendricks spot eventually.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

If the Cubs do have to switch to a six-man rotation in 2024 to accommodate Imanaga, that means one less reliever (seven instead of eight), and that did not work too well for the Angels during the Ohtani years or with the Mets last year with Senga in the rotation. 

It is not easy finding five much less six decent MLB SP, and a six-man rotation also puts a lot more stress on the pen if there are only seven guys available instead of eight. 

Note that in NPB there is no restriction on the number of pitchers on the active list roster, so a six-man rotation does not negatively impact the bullpen like it does in MLB. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil


Do you thini it Would work if they put 4 guys on a 4 day rest rotation and Imanaga on 5 day rest rotation?

Steele, Taillon, Hendricks, Imanaga, Assad, Steele

Taillon, Hendricks, Assad, Imanaga, Steele, Taillon

Hendricks, Assad, Steele, Imanaga, Taillon Hendricks

Assad, Steele, Taillon, Imanaga, Hendricks, Assad

Rinse and repeat as needed.

[ ]

In reply to by Bill

BILL: In Japan the starting pitchers pitch the same day every week, very much like college baseball in the U. S., where a team has its Friday starter (#1), Saturday starter (#2), Sunday starter (#3), etc. So NPB starting pitchers get six days off between starts, but everybody does it that way so no team gets an advantage. Also, because starters pitch only once per week they can throw more pitches per game. 

For it to work in MLB where a team has just one once a week starter (like Ohtani or Senga or Imanaga), the once a week starter really has to be the club's #1 or #2 and then maybe two others always work on four or five days rest, and the other two slots change from week-to-week, with those pitchers being mainly "bulk innings" guys who are most effective going just once through the batting order, sometimes starting on only three days rest, but throwing no more than three innings each time. 

Again, this can be done more easily if there is not a limit of 13 pitchers,  but with only 13 pitchers on the roster and with the restriction on optional assignments (five times per season) and the minimum 15-day IL for pitchers and the minimum 15 day on optional assignment before a pitcher can be recalled, the roster juggling required to make it work is very difficult to pull off, much moreso since the maximum 13 pitchers limit was implemented a couple of years ago. 

I guess if anybody can make it work it would be Craig Counsell. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

So for instance with the Cubs in 2024, you could have Imanaga always pitching on Sunday, and then Steele, Hendricks, and Taillon pitch on the other days of the week with four or five days off between starts, and then Smyly, Wesneski, Assad, and Wicks would be the "bulk innings" guys who would "piggy- back" in various two-pitcher combinations (like maybe Smyly/Wesneski and Wicks/Assad) on thd other days and normally pitch no more than three innings each and go just once through the order, and then the other five pitchers would be the high-leverage one inning guys (probably Alzolay, Merryweather, and Leiter, and some combo of Palencia, Little, Rucker, K. Thompson, Horn, Hodge, Wieck, et al) who normally would not pitch until the 7th inning, and then hope the five one inning guys don't get burned out over the course of the season. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

One good thing about dedicating four slots on the pitching staff to "bulk innings" guys is that it might be a really good way to transition young pitchers (like Assad, Wesneski, Wicks, Horton, and Brown) into MLB, sort of like the way they did back in the 1960's when clubs had four starters who pitched on three days rest and then two "spot starters / long relievers" (usually younger guys trying to establish themselves as big league starters or older guys at the end of their careers) who would usually only start in the second game of a doubleheader (and teams played a lot of doubleheaders in the 60's), but otherwise could throw multiple innings out of the pen in-between spot starts. 

Of course it helped that starting pitchers threw complete games whenever possible back in the day (and closed their own games), thereby keeping the bullpen guys fresh for when they were actually needed. 

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

I still see/hope Jed going after Belli and Hader. 

40+mil to get those two guys. Maybe HHoskins on a prove it deal.

But I think your trading Hendricks idea to create extra spending space below the Luxury Tax is truly viable. Maybe put Hendricks and Wisdom together in a deal since Hoskins takes Patrick's ABs.

We pay 5mil of his deal, to free up 10mil or something like that.

This would give Jed over 50+mil to get Belli, Hader and Hoskins.

To be clear, I don't think Hoskins is a must get. It seems that Jed believes he is. 

Jim Bowden ofrom CBS says the deal is 2yrs for 30mil. Can grow to 4yrs for 60mil and could get to 80mil with multiple opt outs. 

Jed Hoyer, the master of the prove it deal with the solid to above average talented players

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

These opt-out deals are becoming very annoying.  How can you build a team for longevity if 1/3 of your team and all your star players have opt out or player/mutual options?  MLB and all leagues need to have a hard salary cap like the NHL.  No player can have more than 20% of teams salary, nobody can break the cap top period, also there’s a floor limit, no opt outs, any player/club etc options, 8 year contract limits max, no Ohtani 20yr contracts with most $ when he’s retired, still have bonuses, no trade clauses, also you can trade draft picks.  Plus the cap is at like $83 million.  Would keep players in check and put Scott Boras out of business or at least ruin his life of luxury.

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In reply to by cubbies.4ever

Fans want a salary cap and most of the owners want a salary cap, but the MLBPA will never agree to a salary cap (other than the CBT), and unlike the NFL, NBA, and NHL player unions, the MLBPA is the strongest sports union in the world. 

So a salary cap in MLB is never going to happen, although I would think the MLBPA would love to see a payroll floor for clubs receiving CBT money.

[ ]

In reply to by Childersb3

If the contract was for (let's say) $80M guaranteed the release fee would be $13.25M to be paid in four installments over the next 18 months, but if the guarantee is only $30M the release fee would be $5.75M to be paid over the next 18 months. 

Then if additional years & money are added later by virtue of player and/or club options, performance bonuses, and/or salary escalators, the additional $7.5M release fee would not have to be paid until the additional years & money become guaranteed, and that might happen over the course of two or more seasons, thus even further spreading out the release fee. 

So while the release fee does not count against the Cubs AAV, the release fee probably does count against Hoyer's annual payroll budget, and so perhaps the contract is structured the way it is in order to spread out the release fee over as many years as possible.

The NFL has similar salary caps as mentioned above.  But in order to make them work, you have to have functional revenue sharing among the teams as they do in the NFL, and you have to have the total salary cap tied to a percentage of total league revenue.

The NFL was able to do this because they were not generally profitable at the time that television revenue was meaningful, and they were able to get the large market teams to agree to the revenue sharing.  That has isn't likely to happen today.

Also, to make it work, the players have to agree to the salary cap tied to a percentage of total league revenue.  That has been offered in the past, and rejected by the players.


[ ]

In reply to by Bill

MLBPA is an extremely powerful "collective bargaining organization" with huge strength on the team level.  players in other sports with they had the power MLBPA has over owners.

on the cubs side, ian happ is a very strong representative that is very savy with executives, press, and fellow players.

It’s sad that Nelson Maldonado didn’t get a cup of coffee at the big league level.  The last couple years he was mostly playing DH or 1B, and although the Cubs are short at both spots, he didn’t play enough long ball to be considered.  He wasn’t chosen in the Rule 5, so he decided it was time.

When Nelson Maldonado was drafted he was projected as a DH in search of a position. He was tried at both 1B and corner OF and was well below-average defensively everywhere. He spent three seasons in AA and not only did he not progress to AAA, he stopped hitting at AA in 2023. He wasn't even taken in the AAA Phase of the 2023 Rule 5 Draft ($24,000 price). 

Maldonado has been replaced in the pipeline by Haydn McGeary and Brian Kalmer, both of whom are bat-first DH types. Maldonado was not going to get an NRI to MLB Spring Training and there was a very good chance that he would have been released at the conclusion of Minor League Camp because the Cubs have so much depth in their minor league system. 

Maldonado is not an Arizona or West Coast guy, so why bother coming to Spring Training in Mesa if you have no future in the organization?

While we're all speaking about Morel's 3B defense being good enough, his swing has gotten better.

You could see it a little last fall. He didn't drop his hands behind his body as much (barred arm). But in videos from his Winter ball and this Feb in AZ you can tell he's keeping his hands tighter to his body. He's just stronger and able to have a tighter swing now. He'll be even quicker to the ball this way.

Fun times.  

My takeaway from the first Spring Training game of the year: It's really refreshing to have a slew of exciting young players in a season that should not be a total punt at the MLB level. It's been a while. 

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

yeah, i like the team.

my main complaint isn't that they won't be competitive, rather that they could be even more competitive given their resources.  there's still time to add on, and they have 10s of millions to do it without going past their self-imposed limitations.  whether these limitations should exist or be way more flexible is up for debate, but we have what the owners give the front office to work with.

some of the sites doing wins predictions have CHC at or just below STL for taking the NL Central.

it's also nice knowing if some of the kids expected to break with the team don't work out, there's a good amount of kids near-MLB ready to hedge some of the failures...a few non-roster vets, too (peralta/d.smith/cj edwards).  no guarantees, but it's nice to have around.

i feel good about 2024 even without additions, but i'm still expecting an addition until the "Boras 4" are off the market.

if the cubs we see today are the cubs we get going into opening day, i will be disappointed, but i still think they got a shot at the playoffs.

Recent comments

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Childersb3: I can see right away that Cots did not set-aside the $4.25M in potential performance bonuses for Smyly, Gomes, and Imanaga. 

    While Cots doesn't count potential performance bonuses when determining available AAV, clubs do, because if they don't they could find themselves over the CBT threshold at the end of the year. The only time you might not count 100% of a player's potential performance bonus is if two bonuses would cancel each other out (like if two pitchers have a bonus based on Games Finished and the combined total of GF exceeds the number of games In the season so that there is no way both pitchers could max out their bonuses).

    So I subtract potential performance bonuses from available AAV (just like clubs do), even though the bonuses might not be reached. 

    Otherwise, I have $1.67M for the Pre-arb pool, an estimated $17M set-aside for Player Benefit Costs, "dead money" at $13.25M, the estimate collective aggregate minor league "split" salaries for players on the 40 who are on optional assignment to minors at $2M, pre-arb players on 26-man roster collectively at $6M, and season-long off & on aggregate salaries for players replacing players who are on MLB IL estimated at $5M.

    I'd have to look and see if there is a difference in AAV for contracted MLB players' salaries on my list, but if I remember correctly I have it at somewhere around $187M, because when I added the dead money I remember the total was just slightly over $200M.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    AZ Phil, the Cots Baseball Contracts 2024-28 Cubs Spreadsheet shows the following tax numbers for 2024:
    Contract salaries - 186.372mil
    Buyout dead salaries - 13.250mil
    Pre-Arb Players - 5.215mil
    0-3 yr Bonus Pool - 1.67mil
    Injured List - 5.215mil
    40man Players in MiLB - 2.25mil
    Estimated Player Benefits - 17mil

    Cots has the total CBT amount for the Cubs in 2024 at 230.969mil.
    CBT Threshold is 237mil, so 6mil is space.

    Where is Cot's estimations wrong to allow for this 6mil in space?

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    With the $26.67M AAV hit on Bellinger, the Cubs are almost exactly at the CBT threshold if you add the $5M needed to be set aside to pay salaries for players called up from the minors during the course of the season to replace players on the IL and $4.25M in potential performance bonuses (Smyly, Gomes, and Imanaga). 

    It's almost as if the Cubs went to their (self-imposed) absolute max in 2024 payroll AAV space by signing Bellinger to this contract, because going any higher on the Bellinger AAV would mean taking a risk that the team could potentially go over the CBT threshold.   

    So if the Cubs self-imposed 2024 payroll AAV limit is the CBT threshold ($237M AAV), the Cubs are right there right now, with no payroll AAV space available for additional free agent signings and/or players acquired in trades and/or roster additions at the Trade Deadline. That is, unless the Cubs trade Hendricks ($14.5M AAV) and/or Smyly ($10.25M AAV plus an additional $3M in potential performance bonuses). It would also help if the Cubs could somehow jettison Bote's contract ($3M AAV hit). 

    The Cubs could also pick up as much as $10M in AAV space by trading Almonte, Madrigal, Leiter, Wisdom, Merryweather, and Tauchman (or outrighting them and then hoping they elect free-agency and forfeit their contract and salary). 

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Tax issues? Roster Crunch? Securing bullpen (always an issue, no matter how good it is)? Cooper might be better than Wisdom vs LHers (less pop but better hitter). 

    It might be a small deal. Nothing significant.

  • Bill (view)

    What makes you think that a trade is on it's way?  Other than a minor "free up a 40 man slot" trade.


  • Childersb3 (view)

    Cubs sign Garrett Cooper to minor league deal and ST invite.

    Supposed platoon competition for Wisdom.

    Peralta and Cooper are interesting vet guys. 

    Especially if a trade occurs here soon.

    Seems like things are headed that way.

  • crunch (view)

    appreciate these when you get the chance.  thanks.  good stuff, as always.

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Here are the pitcher reports from Sunday's Padres - Cubs game at Sloan Park if anyone is interested: 

    FB: 91-94
    CT: 87-90
    SL: 79-81
    COMMENT: Allowed three runs (two ER), surrendered three hits (two doubles and a single), and walked two in 1.1 IP (39 pitches - 24 strikes)... recorded no strikeouts... four swing & miss (two on FB and two on CT)... too much hard contact... really labored (slogged) in his second inning of work especially and was relieved after a one-out two-run bases-loaded single... 

    FB: 91-93 
    SL: 83-85
    COMMENT: Relieved Assad with one out in top of the second and runners on 1st & 2nd and retired both of the batters he faced (L-7 and K-looking) on eight pitches... two swing & miss (both on SL)... has a mediocre FB so he relies heavily on the SL...  
    FB: 95-97 - T-99 
    CH: 89
    COMMENT: 1-2-3 nine-pitch inning (L-5, 4-3, 4-1) although he was behind on the count against every hitter he faced and threw only four strikes... threw eight FB (no swing & miss)... was helped by a spectacular diving catch by Christopher Morel at 3rd base on a frozen rope headed toward LF to retire the inning's lead-off hitter...  

    FB: 93-94 
    SL: 83-86 
    CH: 81 
    COMMENT: Surrendered a screaming line-drive HR pulled over LF fence to lead-off batter (RH-hitting Jose Azocar) on his third pitch of the inning (94 MPH FB), then retired the next two hitters (a 5-3 GO and a seven-pitch K-swinging on SL), then walked two and was relieved after throwing 24 pitches (only 11 strikes - two swing & miss)... FB has decent velo but it is very straight & hittable... the two batters that he walked were both LH-hitters... he obviously struggles to throw strikes and so he would probably have difficulty pitching out of an MLB pen...    

    FB: 93-94 
    CH: 81 
    COMMENT: Came into game with two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd and immediately threw a WP, and then retired the one batter he faced on a 6-3 GO on his fifth pitch after starting the AB by throwing three consecutive balls... no swing & miss... 

    FB: 97-98
    SL/CT: 88 
    CH: 83
    CV: 80 
    COMMENT: Mixed high-octane FB with three different secondaries... worked fast and retired the side 1-2-3 on nine pitches (K-swinging, 6-3, K-looking)... threw eight strikes and only one ball... If he can throw strikes while maintaining velo like he did today he could be a high-leverage MLB RP...

    FB: 91-93 
    SL: 82-84 
    CH: 81 
    COMMENT: Nibbled his way through the inning... needed 27 pitches (18 strikes) to retire the side... five foul balls and only one swing & miss... allowed two runs (both unearned thanks to a Moises Ballesteros boot at 1st base to start the inning) on three hits (all singles)... no walks & no strikeouts... he is a "pitch-to-contact" type and he fits the profile of a pitcher with the ceiling of a AAA 5th starter... can't see him being of any use working out of the pen... 

    FB: 95-96 
    SL/CT: 89 
    CH: 83
    CV: 78-81 
    COMMENT: Threw a shutout inning although he did allow a hard-hit two-out double... needed 21 pitches (13 strikes - only one swing & miss and six foul balls) to retire the side... has the pitch repertoire of a multi-inning "bulk" guy... 

    FB: 93-94
    SL: 81-84 
    COMMENT: Threw a shutout inning (13 pitches - only seven strikes - no swing & miss).. allowed a hard-hit two-out double... alternated FB/SL...  

    FB: 94-97 
    SL: 83-85 
    COMMENT: Worked one inning and allowed a run on back-to-back two-out doubles (one smoked into the CF-RF gap and the other looped into short RF)... threw 12 pitches (11 strikes - two swing & miss)...

  • crunch (view)

    busch and suzuki start monday.  busch had minor shoulder soreness early in camp.  no idea why suzuki was held back until game 3, maybe nothing.

  • Bill (view)

    PCA is almost certain to go to Iowa, so Tauchman has likely made the team.  They may be able to get something in trade for madrigal or Mastrobone, but not much.