Rafael Ortega’s two-year tenure with the Cubs has ended. The Cubs declined to offer Ortega a contract Friday. the deadline to tender contracts to both arb-eligible and pre-arb players.
Ortega batted .265/.344/.408 (162-for-612) in 221 games for the Cubs in 2021 and 2022, with 18 home runs and 24 stolen bases. All that was worth 2.3 bWAR.
Which doesn’t sound bad, but he wasn’t a good defender (negative bWAR) and really was just a placeholder until the Cubs — presumably, now — acquire better players.
Ortega suffered a broken finger in September while the Cubs were playing the Mets and missed the last couple of weeks of the 2022 season.
He did hit one walkoff homer for the Cubs, August 23, 2021 against the Rockies [VIDEO].
Brailyn Marquez was once a top Cubs pitching prospect, but COVID-19 and shoulder injuries have prevented him from pitching at all since he made one appearance for the Cubs in the final game of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Marquez doesn’t turn 24 until January and I suppose it’s possible that the Cubs might re-sign him to a minor league deal.
Alexander Vizcaino was acquired, along with Kevin Alcántara, in the deal that sent Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees in July 2021. He pitched in six games for South Bend after the deal but was then placed on the restricted list after he apparently failed to report for Spring Training last February. His tenure on that list is rather mysterious — no one from the team has said anything about it. And now he’s gone.
Other moves made Friday:
Cubs have agreed to terms on 2023 contracts with RHPs Adrian Sampson and Rowan Wick to avoid salary arbitration.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) November 19, 2022
Four arb-eligible players have been tendered 2023 contracts: OF Ian Happ, RHP Codi Heuer, IFs Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal.
As noted above, there are still four Cubs remaining eligible for arbitration hearings. The deadline to sign before a hearing isn’t until January, so I presume the Cubs will make further attempts to sign Ian Happ, Codi Heuer, Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal, and in the case of Happ and Hoerner, hopefully sign them to long-term deals.
I’ll have more to say about guys from other teams who were non-tendered that the Cubs might be interested in — particularly Cody Bellinger — in the coming days.
Lastly, just so there is no confusion, and now that Vizcaino is officially gone: Per the Cubs press release announcing these moves, the 40-man roster stands at 37.