Today is a double deadline day, both of which will greatly impact the Chicago Cubs.
First, and most simply, it’s the deadline for free agents to accept a Qualifying Offer, if they’ve been given one. That includes Willson Contreras, who is widely expected to reject the one-year, $19.65 million offer from the Cubs for 2023. Once he does, he will then cost his new signing team draft pick compensation whenever he signs, and will also net the Cubs a compensatory draft pick after the second round at the same time. Or, Contreras could drop a 5% surprise on everyone, in which case the Cubs get to keep him on a very nice one-year deal.
The deadline for the 14 players who received a QO to accept or reject is 3pm CT today.
Second, there is the rostering deadline today. Certain prospects in an organization will be eligible for next month’s Rule 5 Draft (the short version is: prospects who’ve been in a system a long time, but who have never been placed on the 40-man roster). And if you want an eligible prospect to DEFINITELY NOT be selected in the Rule 5 Draft, today is the deadline by which you must place that prospect on your 40-man roster.
The Cubs have opened up at least seven roster spots over the past week, so they could protect upwards of seven prospects (more, really, because there are still some other guys they could remove from the 40-man if they really had to). As Bryan has looked at it, there are four+ prospects the Cubs really need to protect, though a couple more would be nice.
Keep in mind: teams across the league are making these same decisions today, and thus you might see a decent amount of trade and waiver activity. It’s not hard to imagine, for example, a player on Team A that Team B has always liked, and Team A is not planning to protect that player. So Team B offers up a little something, and gets that player on its own 40-man roster before the rostering deadline. The same idea applies for guys that a team simply wants to dump off of its 40-man, but some other team is happy to snag. Historically, we see this kind of trade/waiver activity around the league today.
The deadline for getting prospects onto your 40-man is 5pm CT today.