Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Hughes and Morel exit debuts to standing ovations; Frazier kicks off rehab; Alcantara and Pagan homer as Pelicans offense explodes again

Kevin Alcantara (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

MLB

Rookie Performers

You couldn’t ask for better debuts from Brandon Hughes and Christopher Morel last night.

Hughes showcased exactly what has made him a such a fast riser in the system since the start of last season. The converted outfielder has a deceptive four seam fastball that plays much higher than the velocity he throws it with (often 91-93, T95). Opposing hitters are often late or swing through it. The only thing outrageous in the movement profile of the pitch which indicates why it is so difficult to hit is a lot of arm side run, so there is likely an added element of deception created by the arm path and delivery Hughes utilizes. The slider doesn’t have crazy lateral or horizontal movement, but generates a ton of whiffs regardless. It must tunnel extremely well off his fastball and also benefit from the same arm path/delivery deception. The combo of good run on the fastball and solid sweep on the slider provide quite a bit of separation in break. Hughes also throws a changeup which has improved this season but can still get better as well. It’s still mostly a show me pitch against RHB.

Readers here are likely pretty aware of Christopher Morel. I’ve longed preached about his defensive versatility, bat speed, and infectious energy. He began his career very raw offensively. He swung at everything during his disastrous stint with Eugene in 2018 (0 BB in 93 PAs) which got him sent back to Mesa. The physical skills were apparent though. The quick twitch athleticism, bat speed, and arm strength all showed through if you were willing to look past the ugly triple slash line.

I expected him to eventually break out, but was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it occurred. He spent the first month or so of 2019 in EXST, but then got jumped up to Low-A South Bend and immediately began to perform. He still wasn’t showing enough patience to draw many walks but he was showing enough to wait for better pitches to swing at, and thanks to getting a little bigger and stronger in the offseason was able to do damage when he got a good pitch to hit.

When Minor League play resumed last season Morel was aggressively pushed up the ladder by the Cubs once again, skipping High-A and instead finding himself assigned to AA Tennessee. There were some expected struggles, he hit just .223 with 134 Ks in 110 games between AA/AAA, but once again he made small strides with his plate discipline and pitch recognition. He also continued to hit for increasing power (18 homers) all while adding CF/RF to his defensive repertoire.

Morel returned to Tennessee to open this season, and it was no surprise to see him once again become a bit more patient and show a bit more power (.306/.380/.565 in 28 games). Morel generates exit velocities on par with any prospect in the Cubs system so if the 22 year old can continue to refine his approach he can definitely ascend to great heights.

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Daniel Norris exited the game with a sore Achilles tendon.

AAA

Columbus 9, Iowa 3

Top Performers

  • Robel García: 3-4, 2B, R, RBI (.311)
  • Trent Giambrone: 1-1, 2B, RBI, BB (.185)
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 1-1, RBI, BB (.250)
  • Nelson Velázquez: 2-4 (.273)
  • Nelson Maldonado: 1-4, 2B, R (.265)
  • Jared Young: 1-4, 3B (.265)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Clint Frazier kicked off his rehab with an 0-4 night, but he did just a miss a homer in one at bat. He is coming back from an appendectomy a couple of weeks ago. It is expected that Frazier will remain in Iowa for the week before rejoining Chicago.

AA

Chattanooga 9, Tennessee 8

Game Recap

Any hope for a repeat of a no-hit performance by Peyton Remy was short lived. The righty struggled to throw strikes, walking one, hitting another, and giving up three hits without making it out of the 1st inning before being lifted for pitch count reasons. The bullpen tried to pick up the slack and the offense, led by Bryce Windham and Levi Jordan, even managed to claw their way to a lead in the middle innings. But more control issues, this time by Burl Carraway in the 8th, doomed the Smokies.

Top Performers

  • Bryce Windham: 2-3, HR (1), R, 3 RBI, BB (.233)
  • Levi Jordan: 2-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.348)
  • Bryce Ball: 2-4, R, BB (.323)
  • Chase Strumpf: 0-2, 3 R, BB, 2 HBP (.219)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 1-4, R, RBI (.194)
  • Wyatt Short: 3 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 2 K (1.29)
  • Blake Whitney: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (L, 2-1, 3.75)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

One of South Bend’s hottest hitters, Matt Mervis, has received a well deserved promotion to Tennessee.

It took a bit for Bryce Windham to find his footing at the plate this year, but he’s now 8-for-23 in May.

High-A

Wisconsin 3, South Bend 1

Game Recap

Manuel Espinoza and Bailey Horn held Wisconsin at bay for seven innings, but the Cubs offense struggled to get runners on all night and eventually Jeremiah Estrada had an off night, giving up a homer in the 8th.

Espinoza doesn’t have overpowering stuff but he knows how to throw it for strikes and change speeds. He’s just 21 and getting good results in High-A, but I still struggle to project him as a noteworthy prospect. But it is also more difficult than ever to project pitchers. All of them tend to show up each spring with better velo or a new pitch, so who knows. Stay healthy and throw strikes and maybe additional stuff will come later.

Top Performers

  • Manuel Espinoza: 4 IP, 4 H, R, 2 BB, 3 K (1.88)
  • Bailey Horn: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (0.00)
  • Cole Roederer: 1-3, 2B, BB (.192)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It has been confirmed that Ed Howard will miss the remainder of the season with an unspecified hip injury. It is reported that he is expected to make a full recovery though.

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 15, Columbia 5

Game Recap

Not sure what to say at this point. The Pelicans offense rarely goes more than a few days without lighting up the scoreboard and they did it again last night. All nine batters reached. Eight recorded a hit, six recorded at least two.

Ezequiel Pagan homered for the third time in five games. He maybe doesn’t have the highest upside, but he’s a guy who has hit whenever given consistent playing time, and I think there are fair odds he can make it into the upper levels of the system.

Ceiling is not an issue for fellow outfielder Kevin Alcantara though. He’s not even close to his full physical maturity but that doesn’t stop him from hitting lasers out to the opposite field.

First James Triantos began to find his groove, and now in recent weeks Reginald Preciado has followed. He’s still not lifting the ball much and a future swing alteration seems likely but he’s now hitting well over .300 in May. Preciado went 3-for-4 last night with hits from both sides of the plate.

We’re likely getting close to a promotion for 1B/3B B.J. Murray, Jr. (.311/.425/.525). The 22-year old was a late bloomer out of Florida Atlantic who the Cubs took in the 15th round last year. I haven’t done a deep dive on him yet, but the switch hitter is quiet at the plate and has been killing it for a few weeks in Myrtle Beach. There’s a spot opened up in South Bend with Matt Mervis heading to AA.

Top Performers

  • Kevin Alcantara: 2-4, 2B, HR (4), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.261)
  • Ezequiel Pagan: 2-5, HR (3), 2 R, 3 RBI (.211)
  • Reginald Preciado: 3-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB (.218)
  • B.J. Murray Jr.: 2-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.311)
  • Juan Mora: 2-5, 2B, R, RBI, BB (.267)
  • James Triantos: 2-6, 3B, 2 R, RBI (.276)
  • Jacob Wetzel: 1-5, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, HBP (.194)
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong: 1-5, R, 2 RBI, BB, (.357)
  • Richard Gallardo: 6 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, BB, 7 K (W, 3-1, 2.67)

Comments

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  • Now that Mervis is up at Tennessee, I am guessing that means Ball is likely to head to Iowa, very soon? As much as I am for pushing these guys up the ladder, due to Ball previously dealing with contact issues, I’d like to see him continue to build confidence at AA. But again both of these guys are limited to 1B and DH - I think.
    And then there’s Maldonado at Iowa. A nice problem?

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I think Ball may need to wait a bit. Cubs already have Rivas/Schwindel in Chicago and Young/Maldonado in Iowa as 1B/DH who need at bats. Ball/Mervis can pair in Tennessee for a while.
    If Cubs can trade Schwindel or decide to move on from him some other way over the next couple of months, then I think it opens a spot for Ball.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Michael, STOP!!! Trade Frankie!!
    Bite your tongue. LOL

  • Thanks, Michael. Hughes--WOW!!

  • Is Carraway the left handed version of Dillon Maples? Great stuff but never seems to be able to spot it up consistently. Hughes and Morel had great MLB debuts. Love seeing him go from 0-2 count to eventually full to getting a groove pitch to hit for a HR. Hughes wow 5Ks in 1.2 IP he did walk a guy but love having another homegrown BP pitcher.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    Kind of. Carraway has only had a couple of years to get over it though. Maples had a decade. Still a long way to go before we need to worry. And in the meantime the Cubs have Hughes, B. Little, Hudson as LHRP close to the Majors who should fight for time with Wieck and Steele next year. Still have Marquez lurking about as well on the 40-man. Kobos, Martin, Horn, Laskey have all flashed too. And Luke Little is another potential high ceiling guy with control issues like Carraway.

  • Leeper and Hughes are the two relievers in Iowa who I believe can join Effross and Roberts as a reliable quartet to build next year's bullpen around.

    Figure at least one or two of Steele, K. Thompson, Alzolay join them.

    Heuer and Wieck hopefully return healthy. Maybe Newcomb sticks around.

    That's 8-10 guys in the 24-30 year old range.

    Cam Sanders could be the next Keegan Thompson. Rucker, Ueckert, Rodriguez, Jensen, Espinoza, Correa give you good depth from right side.
    Hudson, B. Little, Marquez, and potentially Carraway as additional options from the left.

    Cubs should have good, mostly homegrown bullpen depth next year.

    I assume Robertson, Givens, Martin, Wick are all traded.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Is Hunter Bigge ready for a promotion to AA? Do you know if he was able to maintain the increased velocity on his fastball, wasn't into the upper 90's?

  • In reply to Naujack:

    He's seems to have settled into more the 94-95 MPH range, but my guess is he can still touch higher. He pairs it with a good new slider and he's shown a good curve in the past too.
    And yeah, he could probably handle AA, but so could Jeremiah Estrada. I'll be curious to see who they send first.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Michael why do you think they will trade Wick? Because he could bring good value? I feel like he is starting to look more like a quality closer every time he pitches.

    I envision the bullpen for 23' to look something like this on the 40 man roster:

    STARTERS RIGHTIES. LEFTIES
    FA. Wick. Weick
    Hendricks Hueur. Hughes
    Stroman. Effross. Newcomb
    Steele. Roberts Marquez*
    Killian. Thompson
    Alzolay. Rodriguez.
    Sanders. Rucker
    Espinosa*
    Vizcaino*
    *we need get these guys up in the system to see what we have.

    Plus rule 5 guys (thompson, estrada, correa, franklin & little) where are they going to fit in? Add in Swarmer, Wicks & Herz showing up in chicago or iowa by next year. They are going to have to trade some of these guys hopefully they pick the right ones to move.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I'm on the fence with Wick. He'll be 30 and entering his last year of pre-arb next season, so his highest value will likely be at the TDL.

    But I also don't think the Cubs want to throw Effross, Roberts and Leeper completely to the wolves in the 2nd half. Wick would give them a bridge until Heuer ready to return next year. So, I could see a scenario where they keep Wick this year but then deal him before the deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 this fall, or wait to trade him until next TDL as insurance if Heuer recovers slowly from his TJS.

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    If Morel can play infield defense then it's time to let Villar go and keep him up here. Period.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    They can't trade Villar (or Robertson, Martin, Givens, Norris, Smyly, Simmons, Hermosillo, Frazier, Gomes) until June 15th without the player's consent because they signed UFA MLB deals.

    Chavez originally signed a MiLB deal so he wasn't afforded the same protection. Gsellman, Leiter, Menez falls into same category. They can be dealt.

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    If we can't trade Villar then just let him go. Morel is better defensively and more versatile, faster and possibly can hit better.
    We are getting younger as the season goes on. The youth movement is coming but just without the loud players we had before.
    Does anyone think we have a KB or Rizzo or Javy in the minors, any elite players, or is it too early to tell. My guess is from what we've seen is the PCA is on that path.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I see a lot of quality hitters in the upper levels of the system, none with the pedigree of Bryant but several who may be as good or better than the current Kris Bryant.

    I am very intrigued with maldanado, valazquez and young. Morel maybe kind of like a Javy Baez. A crazy talent that make you pull your hair out sometimes but a fun guy to watch.

    24' should be fun with all those middle infielders and PCA heading to the bigs. By then we will be talking about moving on from happ, hoerner, wisdom, schwindel & madigral. The next 3 years will be crazy.

    But as always it really does come down to pitching. Just look at the last 10 days as the latest example.

  • Michael, it seems Cubs are very aggressively pushing promotions this year. More so than in past years Thoughts?

  • Micheal, with players stacking up in the minors I wonder if guys like Happ Ortega Schwindel & Wisdom could also be on the move at the deadline and (as you said maybe even Wick). Assuming they play at the same or slightly better levels. I wonder what type of return you would get?

    I am mostly worried about losing Contreras. I think he will be expensive to replace. I dont see his replacement anywhere in the minors for 3 years at least.

  • Robel Garcia with another HR (11) today. Caleb Kilian with a season high 5.2 IP and 8 Ks today 2 runs both unearned. Iowa with anther win over a good Columbus team today 8-2. Higgins again with multi hits and a BB. Wouldn't mind seeing him or Garcia given another shot as the Cubs DH/backup.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    Agreed about Garcia and DH/backup status. He's got it all working at Iowa - but then again he's never quite translated that to MLB. Maybe he's got it worked out this time and could pull a 2nd half thing like Schwindel did last season?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    His swing is almost as sweet as Billy Williams' use to be. If not for the swing and miss, hot and cold, results.

  • Don't have a lot of info about Luis Devers pitch mix or FB velocity but he has some size at 6'3" a lean frame though. Including his DSL season overall stats since 2018: 203 IP 195 H 59 BB 198 SO 2.97 ERA .252 AVG. He turned 22 in April so a little old for low A but most prospects still behind after losing 2020 season. Michael what is your take on him is he a prospect maybe a 4 or 5 SP possible.

  • Just when you think your seeing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, they loose 2 to a team like the D-backs. Quality FA’s like Trea Turner or players with opt outs like deGrom or Arenado wouldn’t consider signing here. And if Contreras is traded, that just creates another hole to fill. That tunnel is starting to look pretty long.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Why do you think any of those candidates would be the Lester of the 2015 team? I don’t think Arenado ever won anything except a big paycheck, deGrom is great but he can’t pitch 100 innings a year and wants a bazillion $. Trea Turner is an offensive cog but he’s a ss. Cubs are deep in that position in the minors. If Contreras is traded or not re-signed what do the cubs have but a bunch of unproven highly regarded prospects (by the Cubs). $ being even the Cubs don’t get any of them.

  • In reply to stix:

    That’s my point, dollars being even, Cubs will not get any of them (high priority FA’s). And they likely won’t until they show they are trying to rebuild. They absolutely need to spend in order to show they are serious about becoming respectable. They should have been doing more spending- not coming in, at $80M under the cap.
    Shorter terms, take a few chances- you can always flip these guys.
    If your $80M under the cap, why not Rodon on a 2 year contract, rather than Smyly.
    Arenado ‘hasn’t won anything but a big paycheck’? There’s a long list of those players, many fine ball players.
    And you say the Cubs are deep at the SS position in the minors! Ok, let me ask you: When and Who is the next great SS you see getting to Wrigley?
    IMO, the next SS coming through the system won’t start opening day, until maybe 2025.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I suppose part of it is that high ceiling prospects need to play when they are ready. Orgs don't bring up Davis and Morel to ride the pines. Also, as stix points out, the Cubs most likely still be an 'also ran' with two three studs. My fear would be that, your wishes would put fans in the seats, but slow or compromise the rebuild process time line. I will let Jed call the shots.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree with the beginning of your post slug, if you’re gonna bring ‘em up, play them. But I don’t think taking a flyer on a short term contract (2 years w or w/out a mutual option) for a player with a nice upside- would slow this rebuild. In fact, it might just as likely, quicken it.
    ‘Chances will be taken’, or should be when your $80M under the cap. Stroman may or may not work out, but it made sense. He’s a candidate to be flipped.
    Oh well.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Hoerner is a very good shortstop but he gets hurt a lot as does Madigral. So we still need a big bat stud at shortstop. I agree our middle infielders (made, howard, preciado, hernandez & triantos) are 2-3 years away.

    My take is they will trade Contreras (there will be a bidding war) and we will get Higgins as the back up the rest of the year. Higgins can hit. Will it be Gomes and Higgins for 23' I hope not.

    With Killian, Alzolay, Morel, Davis, Valazquez, Maldanado, Ball, Young & Canario all ready to fill spots. There are several players on the 26 man that need to be traded. So let's hope guys like Schwindel, Ortega, Wisdom, Rivas, Frazier, Heyward & Happ can all be above replacement players. Because many are going to have to be moved. It would be nice to get a decent return with some low level prospects coming back to Chicago.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I think the Cubs would like to sign/extend Willson but they won't drastically overpay. Willson said during spring training he was looking forward to being a free agent. Now he says he would be open to extending. This seems like a very fluid situation. I still like the way Hoyer and Hawkins are doing things. I trust them. Now I would guess that Willson gets traded but there still is a chance he stays. And what the heck is Higgins doing!! I read he was solid defensively and a weak hitter. Seems like he figured something out with hitting. Dude is hitting .417/.500/.569 at AAA.

  • In reply to John57:

    Just curious what AAV do you think Willson should get for a three or five yr ctt and not be overpaid? He’s currently the top offensive catcher THIS year and MLB network consistently ranks him in the top 10 catchers.

  • In reply to stix:

    Ballpark, 5yrs. 100m. The Cubs probably will not and should not go anywhere near that.

  • In reply to stix:

    44slug. He’s already 5th highest paid catcher before the arbitration case this yr. If he wins he’ll be @ ~ $11M and 4th highest. My best guess is 3-5 yrs @$17.5/ yr.

  • In reply to stix:

    I honestly don't know but Hoyer and Hawkins know. Their offers to Javy and Rizzo were fair but were not accepted. I am guessing Cubs make a fair offer and Willson turns it down. Players and agents are looking to make a killing and most of the time some owner will give them what they want. One variable is Willson seems very happy here, maybe he takes a fair offer? We will find out in a couple months.

  • In reply to John57:

    Why would Willson sign an extension now? In just a few months he will be a free agent. His agent will be able to maximize his value, by taking the highest/best offer.

    How does it benefit the Cubs, to extend Willson at this point? They keep him, Is that intelligent spending? Much better to trade Willson, get a return similar to the Bryant, Baez, Kimbrel, Rizzo trades from last season.

    This is also the season to trade Happ, he has one arbitration season left. A year ago people in the media were talking about non-tendering Happ. LF should be one of the easier positions to fill on a roster. I assume other teams would want Happ, especially if he was part of a package with some of the Cubs pending free agent pitchers, &/or players like Wick or Mills.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Well Willson just recently said he would consider signing an extension. He seems very happy here and is doing well. Either way he is going to make more money than he can spend so why not stay in a place you like and make a boat lode of money too? More money somewhere else doesn't mean you will be happier.

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    Has anyone heard anything about Michael? He hasn't posted in a while and I hope he's not ill. I guess Cubs Den is stretched as thin as the Cubs have been with no replacements.
    Meanwhile, our MiL affiliates are doing well as are our highly ranked prospects. Look at Morel--once someone gets to AA it's not unusual to be called up to the Show. I hope he stays for a while as well as Hughes. That's a great story too.
    So, Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yeah, and your man PCA continues to rake. I believe 3 more hits yesterday including a HR. He seems to be such a special talent, you hate to rock the boat - but it seems he is forcing a promo to S Bend.
    S Bend though already has a group of young OFers that need to play. I’m not as high as some on Roederer (I hope I’m wrong), it should be interesting to see how the Cubs address this matter.

  • The longer the time that Brennan Davis spends on the injured list with :"back discomfort", the more I worry that he has a serious back injury that could be chronic, maybe even a damaged back disc that requires surgery and you know how that goes. It could be tolerable for a weekend warrior, but for a pro........not so much. Danny Parkins, the sports host extraordinaire on The Score afternoons injured his back while on his high school golf team in Wilmette and it took 7 back surgeries before they got it right. I wish the Cubs would tell us what they have "discovered" with their MRI's, Cat scans, neurological tests, etc for Brennan........ Ditto Ed Howard. We know Ed had hip surgery, but what kind of hip surgery was it? In the meantime, stay healthy David and I rank your analysis of our major and minor league players the best in the business!!

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    In reply to shalin:

    Good point about Davis. It seems like he's a player we've heard about but haven't seen in a long time. I feel the same way about Brailyn Marquez. He was close a few years ago but since then--only whispers about him. Really, our top two prospects are like mirages that we "see" but never get closer to them.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Good point jonathan..........Maybe by owning the contract rights to its players, the Cubs organization have the right to remain silent or vague about its players' injuries,,,,,,,and what about the players rights???,,but I am not nor never have been a lawyer, LOL

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Hip surgery, chronic back problems, and myocardiialdis (heart inflammation and scaring), good luck seeing any of those three in the show.

  • In reply to shalin:

    Stay healthy MICHAEL !
    PS I forgot to take my old people's medication this morning, LOL

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    In reply to shalin:

    Shalin---how old is old? Asking for a friend. btw, I'm 71 and feel pretty good.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Jonathan, I felt pretty good at 71, but now I am 78. My wife of 44 years has has 2 strokes and bone cancer in the last 6 years and I think I have had a stroke last year from all the worrying, It was fun at 71, but not so much anymore, but I am still a Cubs fan........Amen!!!

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    In reply to shalin:

    I'm so sorry. I wish your wife the best and you the best too. I have to remind myself that our bodies are getting older even though I feel young mentally--unless you count all the times I try and recall something and I know it but just can't remember it.
    One thing I've been doing for a long time is trying to focus on today. Just today. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow but live for today. I just got back from a 5 mi walk with my wife and feel good. I've already had 1 hip replacement almost exactly 10 years ago and I don't even notice it.
    We are Cub fans though and that will never change and we did see them win the WS in our lifetime. Maybe we'll see another. I hope we both get to do that.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I guess I am just a punk kid. I just turned 60 this year.

    I guess I understand why many of us dont like a tear down rebuild. As Theo once said every season is sacred. There are, after all, only so many sacred season to enjoy.

  • Myrtle Beach tonight scored in 6 of the 9 innings, in another win. Yet it was the first game that I’ve noticed in I don’t know how long, PCA was hitless. The IF went 9-17 though. That team seems so stacked with talent. They really should move PCA up to S Bend, and let Roederer work on his game at Myrtle Beach.

  • Question for all. I see the Cubs have 48 on their 40 man roster. Five of them are on the 60 day DL. But how do we have 43? Is it something to do with covid?

    Bote comes of DL june 6th. I dont think veteran players can be traded until june 15th. So we have a 9 day problem.

    With Bote and Mills set to come off the 60 day DL that's 45 spots. Releasing Menez, Leiter, Hermosillo and Gsellman I can get the team down to 41. Could someone else magically go one the 60 day?

    What about Amaya being dropped from the 40 man? Would somebody pick him up? Who else could be dropped? Espinosa or Vizcaino?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Bote doesn't have to be activated right away. And they have also stated they plan to take it slow with Mills after he had already suffered a setback a few weeks ago.

    There is also the possibility that Bote gets DFA. Bote is due more than 10M the next two years and very likely wouldnt get claimed on waivers. And even if he did I don't think the Cubs would mind clearing that contract off their books.

    The June 15th date only affects players who were signed as UFAs this winter to MLB deals (Robertson, Givens, Martin, Norris, Stroman, Smyly, Simmons, Villar, Gomes). And they can still trade those players before that date if they players permits it.

    Amaya would absolutely be claimed if DFA. No reason to drop Vizcaino as he is on restricted list and doesn't count toward 40-man limit.

  • Cubs can put Amaya on the 60 day IL, but that would require Cubs to start paying him the MLB minimum. I would not drop Amaya from the 40 man.

    I think last week Michael, said you cannot trade free agents you signed from the previous off-season without their permission before June 15th. I assume everyone else on the roster is fair game if Jed wants to make trades before 6/15/22.

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