Another Chicago Cubs player is off the 40-man roster, with lefty Adam Morgan hitting free agency.
Per the Cubs transaction log, Morgan has become a free agent, which means the Cubs must have already decided they weren’t going to tender him for his final year of arbitration, so they give him a head start on free agency (he was projected to make about $1.3 million in 2022). The tender deadline is December 2, but you don’t have to wait until that date to make these decisions. The Cubs were either doing Morgan a solid by letting him go now, or they want to try to work out a new deal with him quickly (and he wanted the certainty of knowing he wasn’t going to be tendered before he would engage), or the Cubs needed the roster spot soon.
Morgan, 31, was a long-time solid reliever with the Phillies who had surgery late last year, and then was doing the comeback thing with the Cubs. Although he posted a 2.20 ERA/2.87 FIP at Iowa while basically rehabbing, he was at 4.26/5.58 over his 25.1 big league innings. If you want to squint and say he posted a 3.43 ERA after his first week back in the bigs, I’ll allow it. Mostly, though, it was uneven, with a stretch of five great outings punctuated by a disaster.
That is to say, like many guys in that coming-back-from-surgery situation, he looked pretty darn good at times, and kind of a mess at other times. When the slider was on, oh man, he was nasty. When he got wild, though, he was giving up dingers after walking a couple. I would be perfectly happy with the Cubs bringing him back, because I think he could be very good in 2022 as he’ll be another year removed from surgery, but I understand $1.3-ish million being too much for a roll of the dice.
As for the roster, the 40-man is now down to 33, with another 5 guys on the 60-day IL, who’ll have to come off within the next two days. So the roster is effectively at 38, and the Cubs can play the waiver wire/early sneaky 40-man/split signings field over the next week+.