Cubs Offseason Tracker



2019 Options exercised: Cole Hamels (team), Jose Quintana (team), Pedro Strop (team), Brandon Kintzler (player)

Via Trade: RHP Rowan Wick

Re-signed: LHP Kyle Ryan (MiLB FA signed to MLB deal)

Non-40 Man Roster Additions: OF Johnny Field (waivers), LHP Jerry Vasto (waivers)


Traded: LHP Drew Smyly, 2B Tommy La Stella, 3B Jason Vosler (prospect)

Via Free Agency: RHP Jesse Chavez

Non-Tendered: Justin Hancock, Allen Webster, Ronald Torreyes

Remaining Free Agents: LHP Justin Wilson, LHP Jorge de la Rosa, LHP Jaime Garcia, 2B Daniel Murphy, C Bobby Wilson, IF Mike Freeman (outrighted), OF Terrance Gore (outrighted)

Current Roster

Players Under Contract


Arbitration Eligible Players (with estimated arbitration salary)

The Cubs chose to tender contracts to 7 of their 8 arbitration eligible players, including currently suspended shortstop Addison Russell. The team released a statement from Russell along with another from Theo Epstein addressing the decision. The one exception was recently acquired utility man Ronald Torreyes. It is a curious decision, and one I can only explain by saying it is possible the time saw the flood of other non-tender players from around the league and decided they would have more options than they believed two days ago. The “trade” was essentially a no-risk move equivalent to waiver claim as the cash involved in such “PTBNL or cash” deals is almost always worked out as the cash value necessary to make a waiver claim.

Year 2 (of 3): Kyle Hendricks (~$7.5M)

Year 1: Kris Bryant (~$12.5M), Javier Baez (~$7.0M), Addison Russell (~$4.3M), Mike Montgomery (~$3.0M), Kyle Schwarber (~$3.0M), Carl Edwards Jr (~$1.4M)

Non-tendered: Ronald Torreyes (~$0.9M)

It should be noted regarding Russell that the decision to tender him a contract does not fully guarantee him his salary in 2019. All contracts awarded by an arbitration panel are non-guaranteed, which is one reason why most contracts are settled before a hearing, but in the case of Russell the team will undoubtedly decline any requests from Russell’s camp to agree on a deal beforehand and instead wait on the arbitration panel’s ruling. 

Even if the Cubs have not traded Russell prior to spring training they would still have options to only pay him a portion of his salary if they choose to move on from him. If he were to be released more than 15 days prior to Opening Day the team would only owe him 30 days of pay (roughly $690K) and if he is released less than 15 days from Opening Day they would owe him 45 days of pay (roughly $950K). This is the same situation the Cubs saw play out with Justin Grimm last year.

Russell’s contract only becomes guaranteed if he makes it to Opening Day (with the Cubs or another team). 

Non-Arbitration Eligibile Players

Year 3 (of 3): Willson Contreras, Albert Almora

Year 2: Ian Happ, Victor Caratini, Kyle Ryan

The Cubs non-tendered a pair of right handed relievers (Allen Webster and Justin Hancock) in order to free up roster space, but also because if the Cubs had tendered them a contract the team would have been unable to remove them from the 40-man roster until long into spring training. As fringe roster players the Cubs could ill-afford that roster inflexibility. The two have also spent extended time on MLB rosters, Webster in stops previous to Chicago, and Hancock in a long DL stint last year. Because of that their salaries, even if they spent all of next year in Iowa, would have been higher than a normal depth reliever as well. In addition, Webster was out of options.

Catcher Taylor Davis was in the same situation, but the Cubs chose to extend him a contract for 2019. With the league desperate for catchers and Davis developing into a respected clubhouse presence in Iowa, it is quite possible that they now envision him capable of filling the “veteran” catcher role in Iowa. He may lack the MLB playing experience of previous players placed in that role, but he has spent time with the big club the past two years, both in the spring and then again in September. He is familiar with the pitchers and has become a reliable receiver even if his physical skills are nothing special. There is also more offensive upside with Davis than with previous candidates.

Updated 40-Man Roster

With their roster moves at the deadline yesterday, the 40-man roster now stands at 36:updated40

Remaining Key Dates

Dec. 9-13th: Winter Meetings

Dec. 13th: Rule 5 Draft

Jan. 11th: Arbitration filing deadline


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  • fb_avatar

    Been a lot of rumors of Realamuto for Contrares lately, lots of speculation on the deal, I believe I brought this trade up about 3 weeks ago and was rebuked .
    I believe Theo is ready to make a statement with his young players that anyone is replaceable if they don't take care of business, J.T. might not be the defensive catcher that WC is ,but I think you have to look at pitch framing and errrors as one of WC downfalls, yes he has a great arm and blocks a ton of pitches, but he also throws a lot of balls in the outfield and his framing is atrocious, the hitting also favors JT, just my opinion...

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    In reply to tater:

    Also believe this would be one for one, I would take this deal in a heartbeat..

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    In reply to tater:

    I don't see that happening. There isn't a great deal of difference in the two. Contrares had a somewhat off year last year but so did most of the Cubs. The biggest difference is that Realamuto makes more money and they would only have 2 years of control. Contrares has 4 more years before he can hit free agency.

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    Remember the uproar when Willson stood and watched his would-be-homerun bounce off the wall into a LONG single? Remember Theo's end of season requiem about some players not being ready to play? Willson may now be paying the price for that indiscretion.

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    If that was something that a player did consistently then maybe but If I remember he was contrite about it. I don't think that Theo would make that type of decision, especially on such a valuable player, on one play. We'll see . But I doubt that he is going anywhere in the foreseeable future unless it's something that makes the Cubs significantly better.

  • In reply to tater:

    What gives you the idea this would be one for one? I can certainly see the Cubs side of this even if Realmuto isn't a huge upgrade but why would Miami do that? Every single report previous to this rumor has been that they were looking for a "king's ransom" for Realmuto and we know that Washington tried to get him last year but they wouldn't even listen until Victor Robles was to be included. According to the local media there Houston balked when they asked for Forrest Whitley in return along with another top prospect. The closest thing to that kind of fit would be Contreras and maybe Happ or Alzolay. For two years of JT, I don't do that.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Everything points to Miami shedding payroll, WC would give them 4 years of control over 2 years for Jt , they get a major league catcher with huge upside instead of possible prospects, most teams would go for the major league player. As for 1 for 1 it would be an even trade without any other player, if another player was involved I think it would be someone else coming to the cubs, not the other way around.
    The Marlins would be getting a top catcher with 4 years left on a cheap contract and getting rid of $26 M off their payroll

  • In reply to tater:

    The Marlins have an estimated 2019 commitment of $46 mil, they’ve shed a ton of payroll and Realmuto is the last real piece they have to shore up the farm. Even more to the point why would they suddenly decide to stop asking for teams top prospects plus and go instead with two more years of control for a similar catcher, even considering the financial commitment is less? Even if you believe the asks for Whitley and Robles were a little high, Realmuto is definitely worth 3 prospects from a solid farm system with one of them being top 5. You would expect them to ask for Alzolay and/or Happ in the deal along with Contreras

  • ...but why would Miami? They're rebuilding.

  • Missing an important word ...

    "It should be noted regarding Russell that the decision to tender him a contract does NOT guarantee him his salary in 2019."

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Thank you

  • It's entirely possible that the Marlins FO is "leaking" information to the press to make it look as if there is more interest in Realmuto than there actually is. Theo & company do it all the time to drive up the value of players they are shopping. I just don't see the Cubs giving up 2 years of control on a player, plus acquiring Realmuto now means another FA to deal with after 2020.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    A couple weeks ago, the rumor was Kris Bryant for one year of Arenado. This week it is Willson Contreras for two years of Realmuto. Next week it willl be Anthony Rizzo for one year of Paul Goldschmidt. And the offseason is still young enough that Javy will make the rumor mill.


  • Here's the thing with Contreras as I see it. He shuts down the running game and his ability to cut down runners just returning to their bag is unexcelled. When he pulls it off with the game on the line, I grin from ear to ear. However, the question is do pitchers like throwing to him? Look at the quiet receiving skills of David Ross or Rene Rivera compared to jump around method of Willson hoping to fire the ball to back pick a runner. Also , like it or not his FRAMING. Again does the staff like throwing to Contreras? If pitchers are losing strikes in key at bats to to poor framing skills the cost is a back breaker. As we have seen with Castillo framing is a difficult skill to learn. Willson is really good at what he is good at, but he needs to work harder at the weaknesses in his game.

  • Willson’s 2nd half of ‘17 is why you don’t make this trade. He was MVP worthy in that half. .305 22 BB/26 K with 10 HR in 130 at bats.

    Realmuto’s 1st half last year does not compare. We are getting the short end of the stick, IMO.

    The only reason would be if pitcher’s threw him under the bus in exit interviews in terms of not liking to throw to him.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Or they get more than Realmuto in return. I think it’s just Miami leaking propaganda to draw more interest.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I said the same thing yesterday ! I couldn't agree more ! The Cubbies have a catcher waiting in the top 30 about two years away.
    What is more probable is this Cubbies sighing a veteran catcher to hold down the fort .

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    There was never any rumored Realmuto for Contreras deal. The only rumor was Cubs had some interest in Realmuto and Cubs may be willing to listen to offers for Contreras.

  • Does this sound familiar? Loss of chemistry, core getting old, core getting fatigued, core getting stale, peaking at a young age, then going downhill, whatever
    "I don't know if anything changed," Bowman said of Schmaltz. "I think that's maybe a misconception. It's not that we were unhappy with Nick. You just got to always be reassessing your team. I think if you just make declarations or proclamations that this guy is this guy and you never waver from that, you paint yourself into the corner.
    "Things change over time. Players change, your team changes, the needs of an organization change; you have to be open-minded to improving your team. So it wasn't anything really about Nick that we're disappointed in. That's not the case at all. He's a really good player, but in order to get two players, you have to give up a good player. You're not going to get guys like that by giving a second-level player. Nick has a bright future and we certainly wish him well. It was really nothing to do with him, but what we're trying to accomplish."

  • Would like to see the cubs sign matt bush to a 1-2 year deal, I know his history and I know his '17 & '18 were bad but that dudes arm is LIVE.He throws some serious heat maybe the cubs can tweak some things and unleash him. I remember him mowing down the blue jays in order in the postseason a couple years ago just blowing them away.Cubs need more bullpen pitchers who can miss bats!

  • brandon hyde has yet another managerial interview lined up, this time with the orioles

  • In reply to bolla:

    That's a tough one. I'm sure he would like to manage a team and would welcome the promotion, but...the Orioles???

  • I was thinking this morning, that the Cubs front office had a really good off season last year. Dervish at a bargain price, Chatwood sitting ready to come into his own, Morrow to close, and a young talent filled core hitting their prime years returning. The front office had a really good trading deadline as well. Hamels, Murphy, and Chavez jumped in contributing immediately. What happened? One would almost have to conclude that the problem was in place before the signings and trades were made. I think that is why so many Denizens feel the need for some kind 'shake up' at this point. Baseball!!!!???

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The offseason was not good last year. The three players you said they signed-Darvish, Morrow, and Chatwood-were to a large extent busts. Those contracts look to be handcuffing them this offseason. Now, the hope is they all bounce back this season, especially Darvish and Morrow.

  • In reply to Cubs09:


  • In reply to Cubs09:

    I have a hard time blaming the FO for the injuries. Despite the popular perception Darvish was not a injury prone player when he was acquired. He had TJ and a few understandable by products of that upon his return, but by and large he wasn’t a guy with a history of soft tissue injuries or even elbow problems aside from the TJ. Morrow was an injury risk but his past injuries didn’t necessarily inform his problems in 2018 and it would seem that Joe and his staff seemed to ignore FO instructions on his usage. Both still have an opportunity to rebound. Chatwood I will make zero excuses for. His issues weren’t new but rather an escalated decline from his past performance. They dreamed on and wagered on his admittedly enticing stuff and lost. I don’t blame them for the gamble but it’s not wrong to hold them accountable for he results.

  • In reply to TC154:

    The Morrow signing wasn’t so bad, because of the length. Darvish: I know so many were giddy when he was signed, but I can honestly say that on this very site I said that typically fans are only happy with those big, long contracts for 30+ pitchers on the day they are signed. It’s almost axiomatic that things go sour almost immediately (Jon Lester a wonderful exception). The smarter move would have been to start Monty from day one and trade for Hamels mid season (the Michael Ernst approach). Now Theo must sharpen his pencils and get to work, because he can’t simply throw money at the problems.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    I recall. You did send out hot red flags after the Dervish signing. Unfortunately, you were right. Your comments did give me pause, but I was optimistic. I agree on over 30 pitchers, and would add position players, and long contracts.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I wanted them to sign Alex Cobb because he was cheaper and less years. That would have been BAD. So...

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yes, the last off season didn't work out, but my point was that 'the boys' signed the the players that they targeted for the teams needs. In other words, it looked good at the time.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    You are right. The Cubs seemed very happy with their offfseason moves last year. Things don't always go as expected. The FO just has to do their best going forward again this year. That is all they can do.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think people are being shortsighted on the Darvish contract. So many have written it off as a bad deal because of his injuries this year, but there are 5 years left on the contract.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I am finding it difficult to be optimistic. Will he be healthy or just overpaid sore arm pitcher? He doesn't seem to have the determination to be a Kerry Wood type, who will pitch until his arm beats the ball to the plate. I hope that you are right. If not, those five years will be cruel and organizationally disastrous.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm not really making a prediction that he'll return to his early form, just saying that making a judgment about his contract based on one (injury) year out of six might be premature. Time will tell.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yeah, I hear you on the OA contract. But I’m also not overly optimistic that he’ll be ready to go out of the gate. That’s why I’m glad they still have Montgomery. I really think Darvish will prove his naysayers wrong (eventually...).

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Darvish turns 33 next season which is the age most players start to decline. His injury history and age is working against him.
    If I had to make a prediction I would say it is going to be a bad contract.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I thought the Arrieta and JD Martinez contracts last year could signify a new trend in +30 FA signings, meaning big annual salaries ($25M), but only for three years. I know the conventional wisdom was that the Cubs got a bargain in Darvish, but that seemed suspect to me. He wasn't signed until February for a reason...

    With that said, I hope he comes out this year and completely dominates! And I think it is possible.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Not 33 until August. There are many pitchers 2-3 years older than him. Hamels, Verlander, Lester, Greinke, etc... All are still good but also there are some his age that are not yet on the decline either...; DeGromm, Kluber & former pitchers at his age... I see what you’re saying & you could be right. But I will predict it will at a minimum be a fair contract.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    What's a OA contract?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Some of these guys can't win. If they don't play through an injury, fans say they're soft. If they play through an injury and hurt themselves further or mess up their mechanics, fans get mad that they didn't take care of themselves.
    Everyone said Darvish was being selfish and weak minded all year last year... and then we found out he had a real life stress fracture in his throwing arm.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Agree 100%, but I'd also say that the lack of information on Darvish didn't help public perceptions any. It seemed pretty obvious all year that simply "resting" the arm wasn't helping but we didn't find out about any physical issues until the season was basically over. It just seems like they might have found and treated the problem months earlier, so it makes me wonder if there was disagreement between doctors or if Darvish was uncooperative. We can only guess, because nobody is telling the whole story.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    I'd say that's a fair point and stress fractures can be difficult to identify.

  • Hard to take anyone seriously who thinks Montgomery is a viable starting option. Spot starter cool but anything more than hoping he can be a solid #5 starter especially on a world series contender is laughable. I’ve seen Darvish shut down top 10 offenses in the postseason. Justin Verlander is still throwing 95 at age 35 and his contract extension was for much more than what Darvish got. Hindsight is 20/20 this time last year everyone was hoping for Arrieta to return(not me) Darvish was the alternative. Unfortunately Darvish got injured then clearly misdiagnosed which set everything back. I will wait and see what happens in 2019 and beyond with Darvish before writing him off. Theo should of done better drafting pitching they failed tremendously in that department and this is what you get.

  • Multiple rumors have it that the Phillies have a deal in place to acquire Mariner All Star SS Jean Segura in exchange for JP Crawford (.214 / .319 / .712 ) and Carlos Santana (.229 / .352 / .766) .

    Seems like the Cubs could have topped what the Phillies gave up.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    This deal is a little more complicated than comparing talent to talent. The Cubs don't want Segura's $14 million annual average salary. The Phillies are losing Santana's $20 million AAV. The Cubs might have included, say, Heyward in such a deal to offset Segura's salary, but we don't know if that was discussed.

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