Most of us are likely familiar with the TV police drama. From whichever millennium or decade, there’s often that one scene: The potential perpetrator is in the questioning room, restrained in some fashion, being asked questions by a law enforcement agent or two, the questioned sees “the window.” How many people are watching? Perhaps the room is vacant this time? How are they responding to my responses? The only thing that’s clear in this situation, if it’s in reality, is the suspect has no idea who is behind the mirror. That’s impossible for them to know, in most cases.
What does this have to do with baseball and the Cubs? Well, when your starting point is “There’s no way I can realistically know,” the thought process is different than if knowledge is plentiful.
Trevor Megill is a relatively pressing coin-flip regarding the 40-man roster. There have been some really nice pitches made, and some balls hit really hard against him. Megill has upside, but he could also be pounded on into the future. The decision is ripe for the making, and it will have been made, either way, by early December, regardless of how many people are behind the window.
Brace yourselves…— Steven (@GoCubs49) October 1, 2021
Trevor Megill since the trade deadline
6.00 ERA (142 ERA-)
3.99 FIP (94 FIP-)
2.25 xFIP (52 xFIP-)
1.98 SIERA (5th best in baseball)
35.4 K% (14.00 K/9)
1.3 BB% (0.50 BB/9)
34.2 K-BB% (28.00 K/BB)
Probably time to start talking about him as a set-up option.
As the poster of the tweet noted, Megill pancaked an outing just after this to balloon his numbers.
I’ll further muddy the waters. If you’re 100 percent basing your decision on results from 2021, the temptation might be to pass on him. After all, he’s unlikely to be useful in the Wrigley bullpen in 2022. Megill, a former Cardinals and Padres draft pick out of Loyola Marymount, was a classic zip-line rider between Chicago and Des Moines in 2021. He toggled in late April, early June, mid June, late June, later June, and mid July. If retained on the 40-man roster, his high-90s velocity will likely again be featured in both Des Moines and Chicago. He has two more seasons he can be toggled, in case he figures it out later.
Baseball pipelines, now, are about having players that can be toggled as is convenient for the club. The days of pitchers making close to or over 200 pitches in a game (yes, I heard of one of those in MLB, from back when) are forever finished. Locating arms who might develop from “low leverage” to “high leverage” is the new plan in almost all 30 team pipelines. Megill might, or might not, be that guy in an NLCS bullpen in five years.
No matter that his MLB ERA in 2021 was over 8.
We all know his ERA wasn’t “as desired” in 2021. That isn’t the question. Assessing the 40-man roster is a look to the future. If you’re sold on Megill being a forever clunker, go with that and vote no. You’d be wrong if he’s useful into the future. If you keep him on the roster, at least for now, you’re hedging your bets, at the very least.
However, since Megill has already been bounced off the 40-man roster once, bouncing him again makes him a free agent, able to go wherever he wants. While high-90s velocity is less odd than it used to be, it’s still what teams want. If Megill is going to be the guy to get the roster bump when the Cubs add their 41st person to the 40 man roster, exploring another option seems realistic.
It’s probably well understood in the industry what Megill would receive as a minor-league free agent, with or without a spring training invite. Let’s randomly put that number at $30,000, which could be high or low. If the Cubs are staring at purging him in spring training as a highly likely probability, beating Megill to the jump might be a strategy. The team could prioritize keeping him in the system, offering him a salary bump over what he’d likely get ($50,000, in this example?), and let Megill decide.
If non-tendered, Megill could get a 40-man spot from a bottom feeder. Or, a team that believes they can better manage his skills than the Cubs can. As November approaches, I’m still baffled on his one. I want the Cubs 40-man roster at 34 or 35. Perhaps there is enough trade interest in Megill so the Cubs can add a non-rostered piece for him, preserving a roster spot. However, that’s a popular sort of mid-November to early-December trade. There are better candidates, most likely.
How will Megill do the next two or three years? How confident are you of that? How many people are behind that one-way mirror? We can all check the stats from 2021, or wait for the 2022 predictions. This is about your opinion. I still haven’t made up my mind.
Should Trevor Megill be retained on the Cubs’ 40-man roster?
This poll is closed
No, non-tender him if nobody will trade for him
Offer him a pay increase on his minor league option, and let him decide
I still haven’t made up my mind
Something else (leave in comments)