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Cubs 40-man roster coin-flips: Michael Rucker

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He’s a lot like another coin-flip guy.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

I’m convinced my mental filing system is conspiring against me. My mental information on Cubs pitchers Michael Rucker and Trevor Megill are stored in the same filing cabinet. The little men that run around in my mind at all times of day remind me of this. It’s very difficult to have different dossiers going upstairs when the information I have on two relatively similar pitchers are so similar. I was concerned my comments on Rucker would mirror thos on Megill. Let’s find out if a darker force than my mental filing system can allow a different sort of article.

Both were Rule 5 selections. Both ended up with the Cubs, after one trade and one non-trade. Since both have been previously outrighted off the 40 man roster, if they are DFAd and clear waivers, they can leave, regardless, and become free agents. Both had some shaky outings, and some good ones.

The difference between this article and the one about Megill is that the Megill article was written before the recent lockout expectation news. With the lockout likely, 40-man roster calls (especially for the December non-tender calls, the guys currently on the 40-man roster) change at least a smidgen. If a player is a coin flip, and there might not be MLB baseball until June or so (merely a guess — anyone with knowledge certainly wouldn’t tell me), which players retain value? Which ones lose it? My guess is, players who have pitched in MLB retain value over incidental bats.

You can dig a Michael Hermosillo or Trayce Thompson, but locating an outfielder who might or might not hit in spring training will be simple. When 300 players are begging for 300 NRI spots in the run-up to spring training, grab the ones who will sign. However, not many players are going to be floating around with a four-pitch resume like Rucker.

Since it could be a bit nutty when MLB spring training returns, some pitchers probably will get injured. Whichever ones they are? A 60-day Injured List stay buys back an extra 40-man roster spot. Since I can’t accurately guess which ones will be injured, I’ll lean toward “keep the interesting ones.” Rucker, though largely unsuccessful in 2021 in Chicago, is interesting.

Rucker was the Cubs’ 2016 11th-round choice from Brigham Young, so “reaching MLB” was likely many people’s ceiling for Rucker. Or well above his ceiling. I’d prefer “age-adjusted expectation” to eliminate the “finality” and “know-it-all” representation of ceiling. We’re all guessing. As Rucker was a starter well into his Cubs minor league tenure, he does have a starter’s repertoire. Which is why using a prospect arm as a starter is preferred to jumping him to the bullpen too soon.

I’ll be honest. For all my bluster, Rucker and Megill are both coin-flips, for me. I want 34 or 35 on the 40-man roster, and no more. If something happens, and Rucker can be spot 34 or 35, I’ll be happy to have him zip-line riding in 2022. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll wish him well in his future home. Even against the Cubs.

Poll

Should Michael Rucker be on the 40-man roster on December 15?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Yes
    (94 votes)
  • 57%
    No
    (125 votes)
219 votes total Vote Now