As expected, a little roster housekeeping for the Cubs, as they came up on the deadline to reinstate guys from the 45-day Injured List to the 40-man roster.
Note that the “45-day IL” is really the 60-day IL as you know it, but for this year’s shortened season, it was reduced, literally, to 45 days:
40-man maneuverings for the Cubs: James Norwood, Manuel Rodriguez and Brad Wieck activated from 60-day IL, 40-man now at 34. Rex Brothers has elected for free agency.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) November 2, 2020
For now, I’m happy that the Cubs have these guys around as options going into next year. Norwood, for all his struggles to command it, is one of the rare arms in the org who can touch triple digits. We’ve seen what Wieck can do when he’s healthy, which he just wasn’t in 2020. And Rodriguez has truly nasty stuff – he just needs experience and time.
Keep in mind, adding this trio of relievers back to the 40-man at the moment does not mean they’ll last there for the entire offseason. As opportunities arise over the course of the offseason (and also the rostering deadline on November 20), it’s entirely possible that one or more of these guys could find themselves DFA’d and put on waivers. If they were to clear, they could be outrighted to the minors and retained for a year (if they don’t get selected in the Rule 5 Draft).
As for Brothers, he was going to be non-tendered by December 2 in any case (he was controllable via arbitration, but the Cubs weren’t going to pay it). He just gets a head start on free agency now.