trey mcnutt cubsToday was we-all-knew-that-procedural-move-was-coming day for the Chicago Cubs, who outrighted six players off of the 40-man roster after they cleared waivers, per multiple reports: catcher J.C. Boscan, outfielders Darnell McDonald and Thomas Neal, and pitchers Rafael Dolis, Trey McNutt, and Zach Putnam. Neal, Dolis, and McNutt were first activated from the 60-day disabled list before being outrighted.

Some of the players will be retained on minor league deals, and I’d expect to hear a bit about that soon. Boscan and McDonald were veteran fill-ins, so there’s not much to say on them. Neal was a waiver flyer who got hurt immediately. He’d be interesting depth in the minors if the Cubs can bring him back.

Trey McNutt was once the top pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system, but ineffectiveness and injuries derailed his promising career over the past two seasons. I hope he sticks in the organization, and maybe finds success in a relief role. That’s about all you can hope for at this point.

Rafael Dolis at one time looked like a future fixture in the Cubs’ pen, but he couldn’t harness that 95-mph sinker consistently enough last year, and then he dealt with an arm injury this year. He may stick in the organization, and he could still have a future once he’s healthy.

Putnam was a waiver pick-up at this time last year, and almost made the Cubs’ pen out of Spring Training. He got a look briefly this year after dominating at AAA, but was soon diagnosed with a bone spur in his elbow, and was shut down after surgery. If his recovery is going well, he could be brought back on a minor league deal next year.

After the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 37. It’ll dwindle further as the end of the playoffs (and beginning of free agency) approaches.

  • willis

    McNutt’s swan dive has been tough to watch. A couple years ago we were all so high on him. Hopefully he can get healthy and find a good reliever role.

    • Cyranojoe

      Yeah, I didn’t realize he’d dropped so far as to be “maybe relief”. Huge bummer for him.

    • WGNstatic

      It is particularly interesting in contrast to the success of Chris Archer. The two were considered to be pretty much equal in the prospect status at the time of the Garza deal, and I seem to remember rumors at the time that either one could have been included in the deal. At least they chose Robinson Chirinos over Wellington Castillo, or that deal would have really hurt.

  • Spriggs

    I still think Dolis has a future in MLB somewhere.

    • CubFan Paul

      Eh, I doubt it. Dolis pitches scared with that power sinker.

  • Jon

    Sucks we couldn’t sell the Rays on McNutt instead of Archer.

    • cms0101

      I heard it was the other way around. They wanted McNutt and Hendry pushed Archer on them instead, opting to keep the younger, more “promising” prospect.

    • Spriggs

      The same thing would have probably happened either way.

      • jh03

        I agree 100%. I think the problem was with the Cubs development staff, not with the players themselves.

        • cubmig

          Good point jh03. I’d like to see more commenting on that. How many players get screwed by what others impose on them? And……How does the development staff decide what skill habit needs changing?

      • ssckelley

        Possibly but Archer was a little further along than McNutt. He was already pitching effectively in AA where McNutt had only pitched 3 games AA, which is where he has struggled.

        So perhaps the Rays would have gotten similar results with McNutt that they have gotten out of Archer but I think Archer would have been pitching in Chicago this year had they kept him.

  • mjhurdle

    Sad to see Darnell McDonald go. He was the catalyst for some great comment rants on here.

    • On The Farm

      Its okay, Watkins and Barney are still around

    • ssckelley

      lmao, true and guilty as charged. I think my blood pressure just went down knowing he will not be in the lineup next season.

  • ssckelley

    If another team wants McNutt they would have to draft him via Rule 5, correct?

    He is still young, at 23 years old he still has time to get healthy and pitch effectively.

    • Pat

      No. If he is picked up on waivers after being released from our 40 man, he would either have to stay on the new team’s 40 man (but not necessarily 25 man), or clear wavers from the new team if they try to sneak him through to AAA

      • ssckelley

        But didn’t he have options remaining?

        • Kyle

          Options let you stay off the 25-man while still being on the 40-man.

          So if they wanted to send him to AAA, they could, but he’d have to stay on the 40-man.

      • Bob

        According to Brett’s article, all were outrighted after clearing waivers. That probably makes him Rule 5 eligible.

    • Kyle

      They’d have to get him via rule 5 now. But that’s probably not going to happen, because they could have just claimed him on waivers and had him less restrictively than the rule 5 would be. There wouldn’t be much point to letting a guy clear waivers and then taking him in the rule 5.

      • ssckelley

        But I don’t think McNutt had to pass through waivers. Otherwise I am surprised that another team did not take a chance and claim him.

        • terenceman

          In order to clear a player from the 40 man roster, he has to be waived. Lendy Castillo, for example, had to pass through wavers before the Cubs could remove him from the 40 man roster last February.

          • ssckelley

            Ok, I thought there was a way to get younger players to AAA and off the 40 man without having to go through waivers. But I must be confusing the active 25 man roster and using options.


      • MichaelD

        This happens more often than you would think (which is basically never). Players in similar circumstances do occasionally get taken in the Rule 5. I think the reason is that teams do not have as good a handle on their own 40 man roster in October as they do at the Rule 5 draft.

    • cub2014

      Can you only loose 1 guy per year to the rule
      5 draft? I assume so but didn’t know.

      • cub2014

        oops! lose not “loose”

      • MightyBear

        No. Pirates lost about 5 a few years ago.

      • On The Farm

        No, you could have 29 players taken in the Rule 5 draft if you have 29 eligible Rule 5 players. There is no limit how many players can be selected from your team.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Take out the trash day for the Cubs.

  • Eric

    None of those guys are true keepers in my opinion. Hopefully we’re at the point in the rebuild where we can stop with all of the trash-pile hole-fillers.

    • ssckelley

      I think they are getting close as the prospect climb the ladder they need 40 man roster spots to protect them from the rule 5 draft. I believe this is the case with Alcantara. So these roster spots will become more and more valuable. I believe we seen so many of these waiver wire transactions recently due to the fact that the Cubs 40 man roster was full of crap to begin with and other teams castoffs were better than what the Cubs had.

  • cub2014

    Technically we set at 34 on the roster.
    (Gregg,Baker,Navarro are unsigned)
    But those 3 if we don’t sign them another
    FA will be signed to replace them. So back to
    I think Jackson will probably be dropped, so 36
    if we add 3 rookies (Baez,Bryant,Alcantera)
    and 3 additional rule 5 guys. We are going to
    have to trade some veterans sometime (Barney,
    Raley,Schieholtz or Bogusevic and Shark or
    Arrieta) that will allow us to add two top FA,
    puts us at 40

    • TheDondino

      Baez and Bryant will not be added to the 40 man this off-season. If they blow away the FO in spring training and make the team then they will be added. There is absolutely zero reason to add them until they make the team.

      • cub2014

        Agree Bryant and Baez will be added when they get
        the call (sometime some vets are going to have to
        be moved to make room) Barney if he gets hot to start
        next year would be good trade possibility.

      • terenceman

        I don’t think Jackson will be waived off the roster unless they really need the space. He’s still young enough and athletic enough to keep an eye on.

        They have 29 spots taken right if you remove pending free agents by my count.

        • terenceman

          Ooops, forgot to add the infielders so nevermind.

          • terenceman

            So, to start over, they have 39 spots taken if you include the guys on the 60 day DL, 35 if you don’t?

    • On The Farm

      Disagree with you here. I am not sure how many Rule 5 guys we have that are really worthy of the 40 man. I mean that in the more promising ones will be added (maybe 3-4 of them), and the second tier of players don’t really have a high chance of sticking with the club that selects them. I really don’t see the value of trying to get rid of someone, say Brooks Raley, off the 40 man so we can add Matt Loosen. Why would the FO bump a player who is already a fringe MLB player, for a guy who might be a fringe MLB player.

      I am also not sure if Barney gets off to a hot start he gets traded, because most teams aren’t looking to make trades until June, and if Barney is “hot” into June, they may see him as an asset.

      • ssckelley

        There are plenty of decent prospects the Cubs have that are rule 5 eligible, the most notable obviously are Alcantara and Jae-Hoon Ha. Hopefully some of the “greener” prospects the Cubs have other MLB teams will not waste an active roster spot. There is question if Paniagua is rule 5 eligible, it all depends on when MLB considers his first season. You mention Loosen but I think it would take an incredible performance in the AFL to add him. Amaya is eligible but is is a low A player, Jokisch could be a risky one to keep off the 40 man as he did quite well in AA. A team might be doing the Cubs a favor drafting either Bour or Rohan since the Cubs are becoming log jammed at first base and neither projects to be much more than a bat off the bench.

        Last year the Cubs lost a few players in the Rule 5 draft (some were minor league) and it would not surprise me if they lost a few more this year.

  • kubphan82

    I’m excited that the roster space is going to start being guarded. Like there’s actual talent in each spot. I can’t wait for the floor to be lifted on this team, it will raise the entire organization. The filler spots in AAA will be of better quality, etc.

    This offseason is still about raising the floor… Cutting off the dead weight and improving the quality of the bottom of the ML level talent.

  • JulioZuleta

    Rumor was back in the day that Hendry *convinced* the Rays to take Archer when they really wanted McNutt…

    • Bric

      The Rays’ scouting isn’t (and wasn’t) that stupid. Their record speaks for itself. Only the drinkers of the now defunct J.H. Kool aid machine ever believed that, based on McNutt’s far superior 2 and half months of ball that earned him a meaningless award in the Cubs’ below average farm system.

  • Chef Brian

    I’m not sure if its good or bad that the Cubs have no problem finding candidates to be outrighted.

  • Chuck24

    No to Manny Acta. Been fired by both the Indians and Nats. Career record is 372-518. He’s Preston Gomez Jr. Turrible…just turrible.

  • Kevin F.

    Here’s hoping that this is but the first skim and a sure sign that the wholesale “taking a shot” days are coming to an end. IE, placing real, live prospects and major league contributors on the 40-man.

  • Bric

    Remember when Hendry adamantly refused to offer McNutt in the Garza trade even when it was apparent that the Rays only had interest in Archer? Seriously, the other GMs must’ve really chuckled when they read comments like these in the trade rumors.Well, this last move I think officially closes the book on the JIm Hendry Used Car Lot that’s been unofficially in chapter 11 for about 3 years.

  • Die hard

    Cubs could do worse than FA pitcher Perez of Seattle

  • Alex