The Reason Cubs Pitching Prospect Alexander Vizcaino Has Been on the Restricted List All Year
It’s taken a long time, but we finally got word on why Cubs pitching prospect Alexander Vizcaino is on the Restricted List: he simply didn’t show up this year.
From Meghan Montemurro:
Vizcaino, 25, was a scouting play in the Anthony Rizzo trade, having had a slow development process over his six years in the Yankees organization, and not having moved past High-A. But the stuff was so legit that the Yankees had already put him on the 40-man roster, and the Cubs wanted to have the chance to get him over the hump. He may not have wound up sticking as a starting pitcher, but with a 60-grade fastball and a 60-grade changeup, there was thinking he could be a mighty good reliever.
Then Spring Training arrived, and Vizcaino immediately went on the Restricted List. As is always the case with that particular list (it means you’re not available for non-baseball reasons), there’s a lot of sensitivity about digging in too deeply. So I do get why it’s taken a long time for us to hear about the situation.
Apparently that situation is, Vizcaino stayed at home over the offseason and just didn’t come to Spring Training. I think it’s fair to extrapolate from that that he may not want to play baseball right now, or maybe ever? I can’t really say on that latter part, but it’s possible we never see him again with the Cubs.
When this season ends and the Cubs would have to reinstate him to the 40-man roster, I’ve got to assume he’ll be waived. Maybe he catches on with another club or signs a minor league deal and gets back into baseball at that point, but it’s hard for me to imagine the Cubs using their limited 40-man spaces on a guy who hasn’t topped High-A and hasn’t pitched in a year and a half. (Very different situation, but that’s why I have similar questions about what happens with Brailyn Marquez this offseason. With him, the upside might be considered too great to remove him from the 40-man roster, even if the injuries, surgery, and lack of innings are massive concerns.)
The situation is a shame for the Cubs, who at least got top-100-ish prospect Kevin Alcántara in the deal. But that’s a secondary consideration to whatever is going on with Vizcaino that led to him not coming back to play baseball this year. Hopefully it’s just a personal choice he made and not some kind of bad situation. All the best to him in whatever comes next.