It’s going to be a while before we have baseball in any form this year.
But I thought it was worth an update today on the players that remained with the Cubs when rosters were frozen last Saturday. At some point that freeze will be lifted and more moves will certainly come. Until then, the most recent Cubs roster move made was this one:
Baseball transaction on what would have been Opening Day: The Cubs have optioned reliever Dillon Maples to Triple-A Iowa.— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) March 27, 2020
That leaves the following 38 players “active,” in other words, no moves have been made regarding them as of the time of the freeze.
Players currently on 40-man roster, not optioned (30):
Albert Almora Jr., Javier Baez, David Bote, Kris Bryant, Victor Caratini, Tyler Chatwood, Willson Contreras, Jharel Cotton, Ian Happ, Yu Darvish, Daniel Descalso, Jason Heyward, Kyle Hendricks, Nico Hoerner, Jeremy Jeffress, Craig Kimbrel, Jon Lester, Trevor Megill, Alec Mills, Jose Quintana, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Ryan, Casey Sadler, Kyle Schwarber, Steven Souza Jr., Ryan Tepera, Duane Underwood Jr., Brad Wieck, Rowan Wick, Dan Winkler
Of those 30, quite a few have options remaining. Many of those players (Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, for example) aren’t going to be optioned. The players on that list with options remaining that could be useful to the Cubs are Cotton, Hoerner, Tepera and Winkler. Wieck was likely going to start the year on the IL if it had begun on time due to a heart procedure he had undergone, but later in the summer he should be good to go.
Players who are out of options, and decisions will have to be made: Sadler and Underwood. A decision will also have to be made on Megill, a Rule 5 pick. It’s possible Rule 5 rules could be changed for this season by the time baseball resumes.
Non-roster players who were not previously let go or reassigned to minor-league camp (8):
Rex Brothers, P.J. Higgins, Jason Kipnis, Ian Miller, Brandon Morrow, Hernan Perez, Josh Phegley, Michael Rucker
Higgins and Rucker will simply be reassigned to minor-league camp. Rucker was a Rule 5 pick by the Orioles who was returned to the Cubs just a couple of days before the season was paused. Of the other six, several of them have a chance to make the active roster whenever play begins, particularly Kipnis and Perez. Morrow wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster had the season begun on time, but the stoppage might actually help him.
Players on the 40-man roster who were optioned prior to the roster freeze (10):
Adbert Alzolay, Miguel Amaya, Robel Garcia, Dillon Maples, Tyson Miller, James Norwood, Colin Rea, Manuel Rodriguez, Zack Short, Justin Steele
Several of these players, particularly Alzolay, Garcia, Maples, Norwood, Rea and Short, could be helpful to the Cubs in whatever sort of season we have in 2020.
Remember, also, this is likely to happen if a 2020 season actually does begin:
When #MLB is able to start their season, teams are expected to expand their rosters from 26 players to 29 players the first month they begin playing games.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 27, 2020
That could leave room for an extra catcher (Phegley?) and maybe one or more of the relievers who’s out of options. With pitchers needing to ramp up from the extended period with no baseball, it’s likely the 29-man roster would be permitted extra pitchers. It’s also possible, depending on whether there is a minor-league season (and don’t assume that if MLB starts, the minors would also start, different issues face both), that Hoerner might wind up playing a month for the big-league Cubs before being “optioned” to a team that’s not playing. It’s all very much up in the air.
Anyway, we are nowhere near baseball actually being played in 2020. Just thought you might like some actual Cubs things to discuss today.