The Chicago Cubs cleared a bunch spots on the 40-man roster as of today. Let’s run it down:
- With the World Series ending last night, the Cubs’ eight free agents automatically reached free agency this morning: Trevor Cahill, Chris Denorfia, Dexter Fowler, Dan Haren (has said he will retire), Tommy Hunter, Austin Jackson, Jason Motte, and Fernando Rodney. More on free agency, and qualifying offers, and timing soon.
- Also reaching free agency are Jonathan Herrera and Quintin Berry, according to the Cubs’ transactions page. Because Herrera was arbitration-eligible, and because Berry was under team control, it appears that each was outrighted off of the 40-man roster, but then elected free agency rather than remaining in the Cubs’ organization on a minor league deal. They’ll explore their options in the offseason with the hope of finding a good fit somewhere on a minor league deal (which could, theoretically, include a return to the Cubs). The reason to do this now, of course, is to go ahead and open up those two 40-man roster spots.
- Taylor Teagarden was also outrighted to Iowa, per the transactions page. For now, it appears that Teagarden has not elected free agency, though my understanding is that he could still do so (and, indeed, it may just be a matter of the transaction officially posting). Otherwise, he would remain in the Cubs’ organization on a minor league deal heading into 2016. Given his receiving skills, he’s not a bad guy to have around as your veteran back-up-back-up at AAA Iowa.
After the moves, I count the Cubs’ 40-man roster at 29. When we looked at the roster last week, so far, this has all proceeded as expected. The Cubs still have some tender decisions to make on arbitration-eligible players, and it’s possible other players under control could be removed from the 40-man roster later in the offseason if space is needed (there’s no reason to risk trying to pass a youngster through waivers until it’s necessary). With 11 spots to play with between prospects added to protect from the Rule 5 Draft and free agent/trade acquisitions, the Cubs have quite a bit of flexibility right now.
I also want to take this moment to shout out to Jonathan Herrera, who, incredibly, stuck on the Cubs’ big league roster all season, did what he could do in a defensively-oriented utility role to help, and gave us the Rally Bucket, the Helmet Rub, and the Unsolicited Curtain Call. It’s not really a joke to say that the 2015 season would not have been nearly as enjoyable with Herrera on the Cubs.