Cubs’ Night Moves Hint at Some Changes Coming

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Late yesterday afternoon/early evening was a pretty hectic time in the Cubs universe. FS1 aired the MLB documentary on the 2016 World Series. Even though it has been a month since the big event, it still had all the emotion. My hair literally stood up, my stomach got nervous, and my heart raced just as it did before the magical game seven ended with the biggest sense of happiness and relief all rolled into one emotion.

And then, the Cubs non-tendered four players and signed one.

The winter meetings start Monday. Normally, this is when the Cubs make all their big moves. Usually, I am at the Raising Student Achievement Conference in St. Charles, but this year I will not be going. Instead, I will be at school, teaching like I do every weekday. I will have the computer in the back of the classroom set up for any possible news that may occur.

duensing-signing-16To get ready for the meetings, the Cubs expanded the number of spots on the 40 man roster by not offering 2017 contracts to Christian Villanueva, Gerardo Concepcion, Zac Rosscup, and recent signee Conor Mullee. In addition, the Cubs signed free agent lefty reliever Brian Duensing. Clearly, a bench/depth move, the $2 million contract does not portend a big shakeup in the bullpen. Rather, Theo and Jed are just going to start stockpiling arms and let them compete in the spring to make the club.

Last winter, the Cubs went out and signed several relievers, many of whom were stashed at AAA Iowa. Next week, you will likely see the same thing. However, I think you will see several starters get MiLB contracts with spring training non-roster invites.

As for trades, the Cubs are most likely to make one trade. And based on the direction of their previous moves, it will be for pitching. The only question I have is whether that trade will be for a young major leaguer who is cost controlled, a minor leaguer who is almost ready and is in AAA or AA, or a minor league prospect who might be two years away.

I would not be surprised if the Cubs went and did a prospect for prospect trade, or even multiple prospects in an attempt to acquire young pitching.

As for the non-tenders, I think Concepcion and Rosscup will be back with the Cubs on minor league deals. Both are left-handed, but no one will want to jump at Concepcion’s contract. Rosscup, on the other hand, is coming off an injury that could scare off most teams.

Christian Villanueva will most likely sign with another team. I wish he could have made it with the Cubs. Sometimes, things just don’t work out.

As for Conor Mullee, I am not quite sure what will happen with the oft-injured right-handed reliever. I think he could return.

With the winter meetings and the Rule V Draft on Thursday, it should be a very busy week.

I will be back tomorrow with “The Weekly” as Corey Black and Chesny Young have been making some headlines and Draft Profile #3 will be out. And the Cubs might make a move. You never know.


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