The Chicago Cubs today started the roster maneuvering necessary to precede the offseason (good thing I wrote the offseason road map piece a couple hours ago!) by removing three players from the 40-man roster, and letting another go before he had to return to the 40-man.
Outfielders Josh Vitters and Ryan Kalish, together with infielder Chris Valaika, were outrighted off of the 40-man roster, as expected (Gonzales, Mooney, Rogers). Each cleared waivers (no one wanted to use a 40-man spot on Vitters? probably shouldn’t be a surprise at this point), and has been assigned to Iowa. Kalish and Valaika can, I believe, be minor league free agents if they choose that route. The Cubs may negotiate, or may have already negotiated, a minor league deal for those two guys to bring them back next year. Vitters may also qualify for minor league free agency, but I’m not 100% on that one. We’ll find out soon.
The Cubs also outrighted pitcher James McDonald, who never pitched for the Cubs thanks to shoulder troubles, and who was on the 60-day disabled list. He had to be reinstated when the offseason began, but he wasn’t going to be tendered anyway, so the Cubs just derostered him now. He elected free agency.
After the moves, the 40-man roster stands at 37. But, keep in mind, Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney, on the 60-day DL, will have to be reactivated this week, which will bring the 40-man back to 39. In other words, there are more cuts on the way. We discussed that issue previously, together with projections on the moves the Cubs might make to clear 40-man space (first four guys projected off? the same four the Cubs removed today – sorry-not-sorry for the back pat).