As we approach the non-tender deadline and the Rule 5 draft, many of the 40-man roster changes may seem inconsequential from a league perspective. But for those players involved, a spot on a 40-man roster can be life-changing. As noted by Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper, a minor league player’s pay will jump from $2000 a month to at least $46,000 for the year once added to the 40-man. That’s a significant pay bump, but their potential for future earnings also gets a jolt as they receive an invite to spring camp and a longer look from major league coaches and executives. Even one day on the ML roster during the season will earn a player more in a week than he’d likely ever made in a month of minor league ball. Given the roster churn that happens over the course of a season and the high rate of injuries, a spot on the 40-man roster gives a player a pretty decent chance of making an appearance in the show. Feel free to take a moment this morning to reflect on baseball’s greater economic landscape, then follow up with a couple quick hits from around the league.
- The Cubs are in the market for pitching, but probably not the top names on the free agent market, per The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney. The Cubs haven’t been able to put together a pitching staff like the one that took them to a World Series title in 2016, and they no longer have the financial leeway to make a big splash like they did with the signing of Jon Lester. Only Kyle Hendricks remains close to the guy he was in 2016 when Hendricks, Lester, and Jake Arrieta each put together seasons worthy of Cy Young consideration en route to the curse-breaking championship. The Cubs of today will have to hit on below-the-radar type acquisitions, as they did in acquiring Arrieta and Hendricks in the first place. Willson Contreras could fetch a noteworthy piece, but that’s a theoretical valuation that requires a trading partner willing to move the right young arm.
- While ardent fans are familiar with most of the names in the free agent pool, there are a few newcomers from Japanese professional baseball who remain relatively unknown commodities to American followers. Thankfully, Jason Coskrey of Baseball America provides scouting reports on a host of Japanese ballplayers who could find themselves on MLB rosters in the not-too-distant future. It’s a list that includes three players who have already been posted—Ryosuke Kikuchi, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, and Shun Yamaguchi—and Shogo Akiyama, an international free agent, all of whom are eligible to negotiate with big league clubs. Coskrey also names a number of players who could be next in line to make it stateside via the posting system or international free agency, including the famed Tetsuto Yamada. For those readers who are interested in familiarizing themselves with the newest influx of international talent to the MLB landscape, Coskrey’s piece is worth a look.