Although I was disappointed, I can’t say I was particularly surprised to see the Cubs non-tender Michael Hermosillo at the tender deadline on November 30th. He is out of minor league options, which meant that — if he were tendered a contract by the Cubs — he’d have to make the big league team out of Spring Training or they’d risk losing him on waivers just as the season began. At the time, we held out hope that he would re-up on a minor league deal, though we suspected he’d have plenty of opportunities elsewhere. It was all quite a bummer.
But a day later, I saw the news and began to write it up: The Cubs had re-signed Hermosillo on a
minor league … nope, that wasn’t right … a MAJOR league deal. I’ll admit, while I had (and Brett had) some theories why it played out that way, I was mostly just completely confused. How does a guy go from being non-tendered to signing a major league deal with the same club in a little over 24 hours? It just doesn’t make much sense.
Well, now I know why it happened! And here’s how it played out.
On the day of the deadline, the Cubs reached out to Hermosillo to let him know that they had officially decided to non-tender him because of the roster implications we discussed, but that they did hope to re-sign him on a minor league deal with every intention of giving him an opportunity to make the big league team. Hermosillo decided to give the decision a little time, and that proved very wise.
By the next morning, his agent had received interest from seven or eight other big league teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were particularly interested. Their offer was also of the minor league variety, but it came with a multi-hour presentation to his agent on how much they believed in him and the many different ways they could use him as soon as next season, including at first base (Hermosillo was an infielder back in high school). It also came with a call straight from Andrew Friedman, expanding on the Dodgers interest. Yo. That’s some serious love right there from a very smart man running a very smart and successful team.
Well, Hermosillo’s camp kept the Cubs in the loop, and evidently the added external pressure pushed the Cubs into their decision to extend him a big league offer. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, Hermosillo will head into camp with a big league offer – and the not inconsequential benefits that come with that distinction – and a slightly better chance to break camp with the Cubs.
He’ll still have his competition around the outfield among the possible reserves – Harold Ramirez, Rafael Ortega, Clint Frazier, Nelson Velazquez(?), and others – but we’ve always liked what he has to offer, especially against left-handed pitching, as much as any of those guys. It was a wild ride, but I’m very happy to have Hermosillo back in the Cubs picture for at least the open of 2022.