Jared Young – Pic by Iowa Cubs

Today was what I like to call minor league free agent day. We saw Luis Vazquez get added to the 40 man yesterday rather than have the Cubs lose him to minor league free agency. Today, several players officially “elected, free agency “. In other words, the Cubs did not resign them to a contract.

Here is the full list of players who elected free agency:

Samuel Reyes, Yonathan Perlaza, Nick Burdi, Stephen Gonsalves Nick Neidert, PJ Higgins, Carlos Guzman, Brailyn Marquez, Ben Hecht, and Yovanny Cruz.

It will be sad to see some of them move on, mainly Perlaza who had to be just a phone call away. I hope that lack of a move to the 40-man does not come back to bite the Cubs.

It was also announced that pitchers Jose Aquino and Gleiber Morales were released from the Arizona Complex League,’

As well, the Cubs lost three players yesterday to other teams. Jared Young was claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals. Reliever Jeremiah Estrada was claimed by the Padres. As for Brendon Little, the former 2017 first round pick, was traded to the Blue Jays before he reached free agency.

As well, it looks like pitcher Eduarniel Nunez signed a successor contract as he was among the listed free agents. He will also be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft,

As a result of all of these moves, the Cubs’ MLB roster currently stands at 37. At the minor league level, Arizona Phil has the state side roster total at 156 and it has to be at 175 this winter. That leaves 19 spots to fill before opening day.

What do all of these moves the past three days mean?

For now, it basically creates a vacuum at the AAA level.

Ideally, the Cubs will fill most of those positions by promoting guys from Tennessee. But as we’ve seen in the past 11 years, the Cubs have been known to go out and find bullpen arms to provide depth at the major league level and they’ve been pretty successful in doing it. I would expect no less from them this winter, but it’s not going to be to the degree that it has been in the past years. 

Currently, there are only two guys that you would consider to be starting pitchers on Iowa’s roster in Chris Clarke and Riley Thompson. The aforementioned moves may have cleared a log jam and could allow three or four guys to move up from Tennessee to Des Moines to start the new season. We could see Walker Powell and Cade Horton, along with possibly Kohl Franklin. Brandon Birdsell really needs to also be in that discussion after pitching well at South Bend and Tennessee last summer.

Usually the Cubs tend to attack MiLB free agency pretty hard in the months of November and December and I expect no less this offseason. We will keep you updated when we can.

Come back tomorrow morning as I will be detailing some possible hitting Storylines for 2024.