Luis Vazquez – Picture by Lauren Watson

I see how it is. 

My first day back in over a month, and all hell breaks loose when it comes to news in the organization!

I am not sure how the big news of the day is going to impact the minor leagues, but we are going to find out very quickly next year just how Craig Counsell and his coaching staff will want certain things emphasized in the minors. This is probably going to be an ongoing minor story this winter (pun intended), and we are only scratching the surface of what’s happening. The hiring will probably have some small ripple effects in the system, but what those are just yet are quite unclear.

As a rule, North Side Bound tends to stay away from major league news unless it impacts the minors, and we are going to follow suit until we have more information. The press conference next week could shed some light on that, but I am not going to hold my breath for now.

As for the Minor League news, there are a lot of things to report.

First off, Luis Vazquez was added to the 40-man roster today. He was set to be a free agent tomorrow and the Cubs have now stopped that from happening. I thought there might be a chance that Yonathan Perlaza would also added to the 40-man roster, But it looks like he’s going to be set free and that’s not a surprise, considering the depth that the Cubs have when it comes to outfielders.

As for Vazquez, I am extremely excited as he already provides MLB caliber defense and his bat really popped in 2023. This past season, he hit 20 home runs and drove in 80 while hitting .271 with a .361 OBP for an OPS of .817.

Other Transactions… 

The Cubs made a flurry of moves over the weekend at the minor league level, which they tend to do every year. We’ll see some more on Tuesday as several minor league free agents will officially be released. Sunday saw the Cubs release eight players, including Derek Casey, Scott Kobos, Jake Washer, and Michael McAvene. There were also some lower level guys that I was not surprised to see let go.

One of my favorite players to talk to in South Bend was also released. Pitcher Jarod Wright was always outgoing and he and I talked often over the past two years about baseball and life in general. I know he was injured at the end of the year, and was going to be undergoing Tommy John surgery, but it’s still sad to see him set free. He’s such a good person and a very positive role model for younger players.

As for today, the Cubs activated some guys off the 60-day IL including pitchers Burl Carraway, Jack Patterson, and Jake Reindl along with Ben Leeper and Dalton Stambaugh. These were more procedural moves rather than declarations of being healthy.

When it comes to news later this month, there are a few things that are going to be going on. As I mentioned earlier, minor league free agency begins tomorrow and the Cubs could be adding a few bullpen pieces as they always do. The 40-man deadline for the Rule 5 Draft is coming up on the 14th and we will have some thoughts on who those choices might be in the next couple of weeks along with some reactions to who they actually do select. Stay tuned for that next week.