Thursday is the deadline (Nov. 20) for all 30 teams to file their Major and Minor League reserve lists to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 11.
The Cubs have until Dec. 2 (10:59pm CST) to tender contracts for the 2015 season to arbitration eligible players. The front office could create room on the roster before Thursday’s deadline by addressing the team’s arbitration and automatic renewal players.
There are 10 players currently on the Cubs’ 40-man roster that are arbitration eligible: Jake Arrieta, John Baker, Welington Castillo, Chris Coghlan, Felix Doubront, Justin Ruggiano, Pedro Strop, Luis Valbuena, Wesley Wright and Travis Wood.
The Cubs 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players.
Of the players in the Cubs system that would be eligible for the Major League Rule 5 Draft, RHP C.J. Edwards is the only player that without a doubt will be added to the 40-man roster prior to Thursday’s deadline.
Even with questions about his future role on a big league pitching staff and coming off an injury shortened-season, a team would select C.J. Edwards in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Cubs face a tough decision with RHP Ivan Pineyro. Pineyro has a big arm and it’s possible a team would select him in the draft if nothing else to get him into their system and take a longer look in Spring Training.
When he was on the mound and healthy, Ivan Pineyro was better than his numbers suggest last season … and he very good in the Arizona Fall League. The Cubs acquired Pineyro in the deal that sent Scott Hairston to the Nationals in July 2013. Pineyro made only 15 starts, 11 for Double-A Tennessee, and his numbers are skewed due to the injuries he dealt with throughout the year. Pineyro had a good showing in the AFL in seven appearances, four starts, but even left one of his starts early with an undisclosed injury. In 13 2/3 innings, Pineyro gave up three runs on 11 this with four walks and 16 strikeouts (1.98 ERA, 1.10 WHIP).
LHP Gerardo Concepcion would also be eligible if the Cubs do not add him to the reserve roster. A team could take a chance, select him and see how he pitches in Spring Training. Concepcion had a good season in between injuries but struggled in the Arizona Fall League.
The Cubs have several intriguing infield prospects in Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez, Carlos Penalver and Elliot Soto that would be eligible for the draft if not added to the 40-man roster. Each of the young infielders appears to be a year or two away from being ready for the big leagues. Rumors have suggested Amaya or Hernandez could be sent to Boston after the Rule 5 Draft as the PTBNL to complete the deal for LHP Felix Doubront.
Teams could take a chance on RHP Zach Cates, RHP Blake Cooper, RHP Matt Loosen, LHP Andrew McKirahan and RHP Tony Zych, but it’s unlikely a team would try to hide any of the five pitchers in its bullpen until a convenient injury pops up.
Any player selected in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft must remain on a team’s active 25-man roster for the entire season immediately following the draft in December. A player selected can be offered back to his original team for half of the $50,000 it costs to take a player in the Rule 5 Draft. A team without an open spot on its 40-man roster, by rule, cannot select a player.