Roster Talk, Serious and Silly Projections, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Roster Talk, Serious and Silly Projections, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I think I mentioned this up here last week, but I can’t help it. The thing is just sticking with me: I want Thanksgiving food. I want it now. Why can’t I just have it all month long instead of waiting for a special day? Or is the reason I want it so much precisely BECAUSE it’s limited to a special day (and leftovers from there)? If I could just order a plate of Thanksgiving or make it for myself (in some realistic, repeatable way), I know I would be getting it at least twice a week right now … but would that wind up ruining the whole thing? And then I’d hate Thanksgiving food most of the year instead of DESPERATELY craving it all November-long?

  • People are still sleeping on Michael Rucker’s 102 mph changeup:
  • In all seriousness, Rucker is one of those 40-man bubble guys this week, in part because the Cubs *DO* have some prospects at Triple-A who can throw 99 mph+, and who may or may not be added to the 40-man this week.
  • Right now, the Cubs have 35 players listed on their 40-man roster, but that includes pitcher Alexander Vizcaino, who has been on the Restricted List away from the team (and thus when the moves were made last week to open up spots, the Cubs said the 40-man was down to 34 players). Effectively, the Cubs can protect at least six prospects tomorrow without any other moves, though that would then leave them without any space to make other moves (like a trade with the Rays, which is rumored to be on the table). Of course, the Cubs still haven’t released Jason Heyward, and also haven’t REALLY gotten into the tougher bubble decisions like Rucker yet, so I think if moves came up this week that the Cubs wanted to jump on, they could. We could still see more moves OFF of the 40-man in the coming 36 hours.
  • Tomorrow is also the deadline for players to accept or reject Qualifying Offers. Despite the previous reporting that Willson Contreras had already made his decision known that he was going to reject the offer (before the offer was even actually made), that hasn’t actually happened yet. Any chance he and his reps are giving one final bit of thought to accepting the one-year, $19.65 million deal and then hitting the market next offseason unattached to draft pick compensation? I say yes, there’s a small chance. Let’s call it 5%. Though for as much as I would be happy to watch more Contreras in a Cubs uniform, and for as much as a one-year deal at that rate would be great for the Cubs, I sure as heck don’t want to do another set of farewells … in Spring Training … at the Trade Deadline … at the end of the season. I can’t do all that again, man. I’m certain you don’t want it, either.
  • The full list of players who received a Qualifying Offer is here. I could see a few accepting (Martin Perez, Tyler Anderson, Joc Pederson), and another few seriously considering it (Contreras, Anthony Rizzo, and Nathan Eovaldi). All who reject the offer will thereafter cost their new team some draft pick compensation when they are signed. (For the Cubs, signing a qualified free agent would cost them their second round pick in 2023, as well as $500,000 in IFA bonus pool money.)
  • A reminder, too, that the non-tender deadline is Friday. So, yes, this will be a busy, busy week of procedural moves, at a minimum!
  • I want to share some of Jim Bowden’s “some serious, some silly” predictions for a wild MLB offseason, not because I think there’s truth-behind-the-kidding to be unearthed, but mostly because it’s just funny to think about some of this stuff. For example, Bowden says the Cubs will surprise everyone, including himself, by signing Carlos Correa to a 10-year, $327 million deal. That is just straight up, absolutely, positively, not going to happen. I don’t think the Cubs are pulling a long con when the reporting indicates they don’t want to go longer than six years right now, and I think you could MAAAAAYBE drag them to seven years on Correa if the AAV was right, the other terms were right, and it was the last bit needed to get the deal done.
  • The Angels, meanwhile, are sold in Bowden’s predictions, they hire Theo Epstein as their new “president and CEO,” and they sign Trea Turner to an eight-year, $264 million deal to somehow add that contract to Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon’s. Imagine if they ACTUALLY did that, knowing that it would make extending Ohtani all the more unlikely. That team could continue to be awful for another decade.
  • Anthony Rizzo to the Padres on a three-year deal is particularly silly, since signing a qualified free agent would cost the Padres – a luxury tax payor – their second rounder, their fifth rounder, and $1 million in IFA pool money. In no universe are the Padres giving all that up to sign Rizzo. Sorry.
  • Among the more serious ones, Jose Abreu signs with the Rays for two years and $34 million (I’d be ticked if that actually happened and the Cubs didn’t beat it), and the Rays get their stadium situation settled in time for MLB to announce expansion plans for the 2025 season. I would be interested to see that, because whenever expansion happens, realignment is necessarily going to happen, as well.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.