Today, Baseball America posted the complete list of 422 minor-league free agents. Here are the 13 Cubs who weren’t re-signed for 2021:
Corey Black, Erick Castillo, Eric Gonzalez, Luke Hagerty, Danny Hultzen, Ivan Medina, Jordan Minch, Erling Moreno, Tyler Olson, Eugenio Palma, Pedro Strop, Jerry Vasto, Mark Zagunis
It’s a bit surprising that the Cubs aren’t re-signing Hultzen, after he resurrected his career in the Cubs farm system in 2018 and 2019 and made six decent appearances in relief in the big leagues in September 2019. But Hultzen was part of the “alternate site” at South Bend this summer and didn’t get a single call-up from there while others (including Rex Brothers, who was pretty bad) did, so the Cubs must have not been confident of his abilities or he had some sort of unreported injury setback, or both.
Pedro Strop was re-signed by the Cubs to a minor-league deal when the Reds released him August 31. He, too, participated in the South Bend alternate site, but was never called to Chicago. Pedro turns 36 next June and he might just be done as a player — if so, I hope the Cubs retain him in their system as a coach or instructor.
The Luke Hagerty story appears to be over — too bad, it would have been a great comeback, but his age and too many injuries made it impossible.
Corey Black was acquired from the Yankees in the Alfonso Soriano deal — seven years ago. He was a fourth-round pick by the Yankees in 2012 and threw fairly well in the Cubs system for a couple of years, but in the end, never had enough talent to reach the big leagues. He’s 29 now and the Cubs figured it was time to move on.
The same can be said about Mark Zagunis, who never really seemed to have enough of any talent to stick in the big leagues. He had decent plate discipline — a .396 OBP in 553 minor-league games — but not enough power to be a good major-league player, and his defense was suspect.
A few of the others, you might have heard of, blips on the radar.
Here’s something worth noting:
Cubs minor league free agents, according to @BaseballAmerica.— Cubs Prospects - Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) November 2, 2020
If we cross reference against the players that WERE eligible for free agency, it would mean the following players re-signed for 2021: Luis Lugo, Jerrick Suiter, Joe Wieland, Ryan Lawlor, Garrett Kelly, Vance Vizcaino. pic.twitter.com/uLWbGNKVnl
Jerrick Suiter, a 27-year-old former outfielder/first baseman who’s being converted to pitching, has reportedly performed well in instructional league games in Mesa this fall, throwing 95-plus at times. He’s someone to watch. Also, this:
Josh Osich and Hernan Perez are also not on the BA list of minor league free agents, but until told otherwise, I’m not going to assume they signed 2021 successor contracts (I would view it as good news if they did!)— Cubs Prospects - Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) November 2, 2020
Lastly, it’s likely worth going through the list of the 400 other minor-league free agents to see if it might be worth it for the Cubs to bring a few on board for 2021. At the cost of a minor-league deal, this will very likely happen. If nothing else, it’s a fun look through a list of guys who either never made it, or are on their “last chance” — there are several former Cubs on the list.