The bare minimum that the Chicago Cubs would do today was add top pitching prospect (give or take a pitcher) C.J. Edwards to the 40-man roster to protect him from next month’s Rule 5 Draft.
And the Cubs did the minimum.
To be fair, that was the expected outcome today. As we discussed this morning, while the Cubs have a number of interesting prospects who are Rule 5 eligible, I’m not sure how risky it really is for the Cubs to leave them unprotected right now. We’ll see if a team rolls the dice on Ivan Pineyro’s relative big league readiness (but not so much upside) or Marco Hernandez’s upside (but not so much big league readiness). There are a few other guys that are theoretically possible for picks, but I’m not sure there’s anyone you’d really freak to lose at this point. Thankfully, most of the Cubs’ big-time youngsters are either already on the 40-man or are not yet Rule 5 eligible.
As for Edwards, I look forward to seeing what happens for him in 2015. There’s plenty of upside there, and with him now on the 40-man roster – and with only so many bullets in a pitcher’s arm – the call could come at any time.
Although Edwards, 23, missed most of the 2014 season with a (theoretically) minor shoulder issue, he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League, and figures to be in the mix for starts at AAA Iowa early next year. Given the injury, however, it’s possible the Cubs may limit his innings in 2015, which, coupled with his presence on the 40-man roster, could mean some time in the big league bullpen. I wouldn’t call that the plan at this point, but Edwards wouldn’t be the first young pitcher broken into the big leagues in the bullpen, even if the long-term hope is that he can start.
As for the offseason ahead, the Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 39, and there will be considerably more turnover before it’s all said and done.
And as for the rest of the league’s roster moves today, MLBTR is tracking that here. It looks like the Rays DFA’d back-up catcher (and reputed framing expert) Jose Molina, who was under contract for 2015 at $2.75 million. The Rays, presumably, will try and trade him during their 10-day DFA window. If they can’t find a taker, or if they have to eat salary to move him, he could be an interesting back-up for depth option for the Cubs. Just don’t expect any offense. Like, any.
The other early interesting DFA candidate? 26-year-old righty Mike Bolsinger, whom you might remember from a spot start against the Cubs this past year. He was just getting a cup with the Diamondbacks, and he actually put up some fantastic peripherals this year. I’d have to dig in a little more to know his story, but it’s strange to see the D-backs, hard up for pitching, potentially dumping this guy for nothing. Maybe it was the high-BABIP/low LOB%/high-FB/HR-inflated 5.50 ERA.
As for anyone else dumped today or prospects that weren’t protected and who thus look interesting in the Rule 5 Draft, that might take a day or two to sort out, realistically speaking. I won’t pretend to know every plausibly attractive Rule 5 eligible player in all of baseball.