Luis Vazquez – Photo by Tennessee Smokies
Five days after the World Series ends, the Cubs are going to have some tough choices to make regarding their minor-league free agents. For most of them, they are just going to let them go and try and latch on with another team. The Cubs could also try and sign a few to a successor contract. Or, the Cubs could add them to the 40-man roster there by ensuring their servitude.
Coming up for this off-season, the Cubs list is not very large compared to past years where Iowa was basically filled with quadruple-A guys. The Cubs have everything from convicts to guys who just stopped showing up for work to recent minor league free agent signings to guys that have been in the system for seven or eight years.
Today’s article is only going to look at two types of players on that free agent list. One will be guys they could possibly sign to a successor deal and the other would be guys they need to add to the 40-man or they lose them to another team in free agency.
Here is the full list of soon to be minor-league free agents.
Craig Brooks, RHP
Jesus Camargo, RHP
Yovanny Cruz, RHP
Tyler Duffey, RHP
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
Carlos Guzman, RHP
Ben Hecht, RHP
PJ Higgins, C
Brendon Little, LHP
Brailyn Marquez, LHP
Nick Neidert, RHP
Eduarniel Nunez, RHP
Yonathan Perlaza, OF
Samuel Reyes, RHP
Edwin Rios, INF
Josh Roberson, RHP
Edwin Uceta, RHP
Luis Vazquez, INF
Jared Young, INF-OF
Ben Hecht as well as Eduarniel Nunez and Samuel Reyes are guys the Cubs could bring back as they are either in Iowa or are performing well at Tennessee this year. I doubt if Marquez is brought back but Carlos Guzman and Yovanny Cruz might be. The only problem with bringing a guy back on a successor deal is they automatically become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. With Bryce Windham and Pablo Aliendo likely the catchers at Iowa next year, PJ Higgins is likely gone as well.
It’s also hard to fathom that Jared Young is probably done as a Cubs prospect and that he might take his chances elsewhere. I just don’t see the Cubs keeping him on the 40-man, nor do I see them offering him a deal to come back. I also see Brendon Little being let go as well. The odds of the Cubs offering Little a successor deal is very good, but he’s probably not going to sign to return and likely would take his chances with someone else.
The Cubs are going to have several 40-man positions that they could use on a couple free agents and be fine. The only issue is they have a ton of rule five guys who are going to need 40-man spots as well.
Ideally, Luis Vazquez would be the best bet to get locked up on the 40-man as he’s just coming into his own and he will still be 24 all of next year. His defensive wizardry is well known, the bat is catching up quickly to his glove prowess. Vazquez had 19 HR and 74 RBI heading into Sunday’s game.
I am not sure that Yonathan Perlaza will get the same deal. If Perlaza doesn’t get a 40 man spot, he is as good as gone and I’m not sure where the Cubs are at with him, especially with the Cubs current OF depth with PCA, Canario, Caissie, and Alcantara, to name a few. The need for having Perlaza hanging around will probably be gone when this year ends. I hated to write that, but sometimes the business side of this game is ugly.
I would not be shocked if something happens this fall with Vazquez getting his 40-man spot. If there’s an injury at the major league level, he is easily the best fielder the Cubs have that they could send to Chicago in case of emergency. And that’s an even bigger reason to keep him on the 40-man starting this winter.