Major League Baseball clubs have until tomorrow to set their 40-man roster for the purposes of the December Rule 5 Draft. That means, if a prospect who is otherwise eligible for selection in that draft (think prospects who’ve been in the system a while without yet reaching the 40-man) is not placed on the 40-man roster by tomorrow, then the prospect is GOING to stay eligible for selection in that draft next month.
So, around baseball, you will likely see a mini flurry of (mostly minor) roster moves over the next 24 hours designed to open up 40-man space so that prospects can be protected. Sometimes you see more significant trades that wind up being attendant to the roster considerations (i.e., you’re not trading That Good Player solely for roster purposes, but you were right about there anyway on a trade, and since the deadline is tomorrow, it’s time to pull the trigger).
With that in mind, and with the Cubs having as many as three or four prospects they may want to protect by tomorrow, we thought it worth resetting the state of the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 39.
You can see the chart below for the full roster, and how guys could plausibly be maneuvered if necessary. The most likely maneuvering *IS NOT SEXY.* It would just be releasing or waiving fringe roster guys, opening a spot, and then seeing if you could still stash that guy at AAA Iowa. But, again, since you never know when there might be some bigger trade having already been discussed, we wanted to categorize everyone.
To be sure, guys who don’t show up as dark green mortal locks below are *NOT* guys we’re saying are going to be gone by Opening Day, much less by tomorrow’s roster deadline. We’re only noting where there may be fine differences between how the players are categorized for purposes of roster construction, both in advance of tomorrow’s deadline, and as the offseason goes on.
Furthermore, note that the light green guys are probably best described as “locks, unless some team really bangs down the door with a realistic trade offer or the Cubs need to move a valuable young piece,” while the yellow guys are more like, “OK, I mean, if you want to put a trade together, we can certainly make something happen.” We are not predicting trades here, nor are we consolidating rumors about actual availability. This is just about theoretical roster construction.
OK. Sorry. Enough throat-clearing.
The Cubs 40-Man Roster:
*Restricted List, Not Currently on 40-Man Roster