The 40 man roster’s ultimate goal is major league talent. As a result, any player placed on that roster is valued as someone who the Cubs think will ultimately help the major league club. On Monday night, the Cubs announced that they added three prospects to that list: infielder David Bote, and pitchers Adbert Alzolay and Oscar de la Cruz. In addition, the Cubs outrighted outfielder Jacob Hannemann to AAA Iowa.
To be honest, the Cubs have a lot of players to add this offseason from starting pitching to catcher to some bullpen help. As a result, I am not surprised at the number of players added is so few, so that they can save some spots for later.
Adbert Alzolay – He’s come on quick in 2017. Just a week ago, Jason McLeod commented on 670 The Score that the Cubs still see him as a starting pitching option in the near future. Armed with a 95-97 mph fastball, Alzolay quickened his pace between pitches, and his career took off this year, ending the season at Double-A Tennessee. He should begin 2018 at Triple-A Iowa.
Oscar de la Cruz – When he is healthy, he can be dominant. The problem is that he has not been healthy. He’s only thrown 95 innings the past two years. This year, a shoulder strain kept him out of the second half and the Arizona Fall League. With low to mid 90s heat and an excellent curve and command, the hope is that he stays healthy. If not, a move to bullpen is imminent.
David Bote – He’s a quality defender at multiple positions, and for the past year and a half, he’s been the hottest hitter in the Cubs system. He’s displayed a mix of power and average at Tennessee and Myrtle Beach. He continued that impressive run in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .333 with four home runs in 19 games playing 3B and 2B.
For those players who were not selected, they are now eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft in mid-December. Some of the most notable omissions from the 40-man include Chesny Young, Jake Stinnett, and Trevor Clifton.
For those not selected, being excluded is not the end of the road. There is still plenty of time for them to make adjustments to get to Chicago.
For Trevor Clifton, he is still just 22 years with a good first half of the year at AA Tennessee in 2017. With his work ethic, he could, and should, make the roster if the Cubs include him on the 40 or 25 man at some point in the next two years. Time is still on his side. He still holds value, but the need to include him for 2018 was not as pressing. Sure, some team could take a gamble on him and pick him. Then, the selecting team would have to keep him on their 25-man roster all year or return him. That would be a pretty big gamble.
As for the Cubs, their moves, and lack thereof, signal that the 40-man roster they are assembling is for 2018, and that’s it.
Photo of Adbert Alzolay courtesy of MILB.com @MiLB.com