Protecting Prospects, Jensen’s Stuff, Rule 5 Vagaries, First Base Prospect Synchronicity, and Other Cubs Bullets

We got our Christmas lights up on the house – yup, we go early, deal with it – but I can’t get the timer to work, so I have to do it manually every night. It’s fine for now, but I already dread a -10 night with snow all over when I have to go out at 11pm and manually switch off the lights. Stupid timer …

  • Whew. Yesterday was a busy one. Not only was there the normal flurry of rumors you expect this time of year – a little heavier Cubs-adjacent rumors this year, though – but there was the Qualifying Offer decision deadline (which is its own news, but also spurs activity), and the Rule 5 roster protection deadline (also its own news, but also spurs lots of activity). That all led to Willson Contreras saying goodbye again, the Cubs’ first trade of the offseason, the first free agent signing with a new team of the offseason, Anthony Rizzo finally re-upping with the Yankees, and the Cubs adding four prospects to the 40-man roster.
  • On that last one, with Brennen Davis, Ben Brown, Kevin Alcántara, and Ryan Jensen the four Rule 5 eligible prospects the Cubs decided to protect, that means not only that the other eligible prospects can be drafted next month, but it also means those close calls will all have to now be sure to at least be protected from the MINOR LEAGUE phase of the Rule 5 Draft (where there are no future roster requirements – if you get taken, you’re gone forever). Bryan put together a list here of guys he sees being protected at that level, and looking over it, I can immediately tell there are going to be some legit guys who the Cubs can’t even squeeze onto this list. They will lose a guy or two or three in the minor league phase this year. You can bank on it, unfortunately.
  • To the second point there, I suspect we will see some non-tenders for the Cubs on Friday. Why not drop them yesterday? Well, because (1) you might get a trade opportunity in the meantime; (2) you might really be on the fence about them, depending on what else happens this week; and (3) you might be able to work out pre-tender deals that make sense for you rather than a non-tender. In other words: don’t make the decision until you have to. (More coming later today on the roster crunch stuff, by the way – it’s still quite real, since the Cubs are going to have to add another five or six or seven or more free agents from here.)
  • Yes to Bryan’s point, but also it’s a helluva good cutter for Ryan Jensen, who could theoretically appear out of the Cubs’ bullpen sometime in 2023 (though I think the Cubs will otherwise keep letting him start in the minors for another year, at least):
  • Nerdy fun fact about stashing prospects after you take them in the Rule 5 Draft:
  • This seems to have been a surprise to Mets fans:
  • Mangum is a switch-hitting 26-year-old who put up good numbers at Triple-A (small sample, more of a contact guy with high BABIP, so it’s a bit dubious). But if he’s a “defensive whiz” in center field, I wonder if he falls into a group of guys the Cubs might CONSIDER in the Rule 5 as a quality outfield/bench option.
  • Terry Francona and Buck Showalter take home Manager of the Year honors. I think it’s nice and all, but I don’t really have much love for that particular award. It’s fine. Whatever.
  • Well this figures to be awesome:
  • Matt Mervis is moving to a big-time agency:
  • https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1592631844356653056

  • There’s probably nothing imminent to that change, but you always wonder – any time there’s an agency change – whether there are going to be contract-related efforts coming. For Mervis, I suppose that would have to be the ultra-rare deal that comes before a guy even debuts, but I would think that’s extremely unlikely. Then again, as an older prospect with very little “breakout” time under his belt, and as an undrafted free agent who signed for pennies, maybe he would be interested in getting a guaranteed chunk of money. You never know.
  • In a weird bit of synchronicity there, one of the last guys to get a pre-debut deal like that was former Astros first base prospect Jon Singleton, who signed for a $10 million guarantee before he played a big league inning. That deal wound up great for him, because he otherwise washed out long before he would’ve earned that money the traditional way. HOWEVER, guess who was back in the news just yesterday? JON SINGLETON. He was just added to the Brewers’ 40-man roster. Isn’t that crazy?
  • The now-31-year-old Singleton hit pretty well at Triple-A for the Brewers this past season (after five years away from affiliated ball), and since he has virtually no service time, the Brewers clearly wanted to make sure they could keep him for a long time if he can contribute in the big leagues. The rub is that his deal with the Astros used up all his minor league options, so he either has to make the Brewers’ big league roster out of Spring Training or hit waivers.
  • This is a long, long, dense letter, but I think it means the Royals are gonna develop a new stadium in downtown Kansas City:
  • And then there was one:
  • Early Black Friday Deals at Amazon is still ongoing, with all kinds of stuff to peruse. #ad
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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