Chicago Cubs – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-04-12T00:36:42Z WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[COVID Notes: 4/10/21]]> 2021-04-10T22:47:12Z 2021-04-10T22:40:28Z The latest coronavirus-related situations from around baseball…

Latest Moves

  • Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez isn’t available today due to COVID protocols, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe).  Martinez isn’t feeling well and could be back in the lineup as early as tomorrow, though the team is being cautious until Martinez gets his test results back. UPDATE: Martinez has been placed on the COVID IL, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Glove (via Twitter). Michael Chavis has been recalled to take his roster spot for the time being.

Earlier Today

  • The Blue Jays placed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on the COVID-19 injured list, per Scott Mitchell of TSN Sports (via Twitter). Santiago Espinal was activated to take his roster spot. Gurriel left Friday’s game after feeling vaccine-related symptoms, so he’s not likely to be out for too long.
  • Ryan Borucki, meanwhile, makes a quick return from the COVID IL. Ty Tice has been optioned. Tice made one appearance, tossing a pair of scoreless innings.
  • The Astros shifted Pedro Baez from the COVID-19 injury list to the regular 10-day injured list.  Baez is suffering from right shoulder soreness, as manager Dusty Baker told’s Brian McTaggart and other reporters that Baez “was trying to do too much too soon” in his preparations to return from the COVID list.  Baez was placed on the COVID list in early March, so he missed a good chunk of Spring Training while sidelined.  Since being put on the normal IL required Baez to be returned to the 40-man roster, the Astros had to move Austin Pruitt to the 60-day injured list in a corresponding move.
  • The Yankees reinstated both Gio Urshela and Rougned Odor from the COVID-19 injury list, the team announced.  In corresponding moves, infielder Tyler Wade was optioned to the alternate training site, and first baseman Mike Ford had been optioned to the alternate site after last night’s game.  It was only a brief absence for Urshela, who ended up missing just last night’s game due to some side effects after receiving a vaccine.  Odor himself was only in COVID protocols due to standard intake and testing procedure after he was acquired in a trade from the Rangers earlier this week.
  • Cubs first base/catching coach Craig Driver has tested positive for the coronavirus and has returned to Chicago, the team told reporters (including The Chicago Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro).  Contact tracing and testing revealed no other positive results within the team’s traveling party over the last three days.  Driver is in his second season on the Cubs’ coaching staff, after spending the previous two seasons as the Phillies’ receiving coach and bullpen catcher.

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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 4/7/21]]> 2021-04-08T03:36:51Z 2021-04-08T03:36:51Z The latest minor moves from around baseball, all courtesy of Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America:

  • The Rockies recently signed first baseman Matt Adams to a minor-league deal. The slugging lefty has been assigned to Colorado’s alternate training site, per Kyle Newman of The Denver Post. Adams has played for the Cardinals, Nationals and Braves over the past nine seasons. He was a fairly significant part of Washington’s big league roster as recently as 2019, although he only picked up 51 plate appearances with Atlanta last year before being cut loose. The Rockies have tabbed C.J. Cron as their regular first baseman to start the year.
  • The Cubs signed Andrew Romine to a minors contract. The veteran utilityman has played with the Angels, Tigers, Rangers and Mariners over a big league career that began in 2010. Romine was in camp with the Twins in Spring Training but opted out after Minnesota declined to add the 35-year-old to the MLB roster. Romine’s younger brother Austin Romine is a catcher on the Cubs’ major league team, although the backstop is currently on the 10-day injured list.
  • The White Sox signed outfielder Zack Granite and right-hander Keyvius Sampson to minor-league deals. Granite is a speedy outfielder who picked up 107 MLB plate appearances with the 2017 Twins. He has since spent time in the Rangers’ and Yankees’ systems but hasn’t made it back to the big leagues. Sampson pitched in the majors with the Reds from 2015-16 and with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization in 2018. He returned to the U.S. on a minors deal with the Giants in 2019 but didn’t get back to the majors.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez]]> 2021-04-06T15:42:22Z 2021-04-06T15:36:20Z The Cubs entered Spring Training hopeful of securing long-term contracts with multiple pending free agents but weren’t able to come to terms with any of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez or Kris Bryant. Fans in Chicago are holding out hope that some of the team’s 2016 core can be retained, but Rizzo gave little reason for optimism today when appearing on the Kap & Hood show on ESPN 1000 radio (Twitter link via Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago).

Rizzo, who already indicated that he was “at peace” with the lack of progress just prior to Opening Day, said that he feels the Cubs have had a “fair” opportunity to get a deal done both in 2021 and in years past, but nothing has come together.

“I don’t see any reason for us to listen,” the first baseman said in response to the Cubs’ recent efforts. Obviously, a sizable increase in years and/or dollars would surely change that thinking, but the team’s reported initial offer — five years and $70MM, per The Athletic — didn’t get the ball rolling.

The 32-year-old Rizzo has already inked one club-friendly deal in the past and delivered considerable surplus value to the Cubs over the life of that contract. For some context, Chicago’s reported offer of $70MM clocked in at just  north of half the five-year, $130MM commitment the Cardinals made to Paul Goldschmidt for what will be the same block of his career (his age-32 through age-36 seasons).

Of course, Goldschmidt was coming off a brilliant run with the D-backs at that point and had slashed .290/.389/.533 in his final season prior to being traded to St. Louis; Rizzo’s .222/.342/.414 slash in last year’s shortened season was his least-productive showing since 2013. It’s understandable both that Rizzo would feel the offer to be well below market and that the Cubs may be a bit cautious with their long-term overture after a down year in 2020. As things stand, the disconnect between the two sides seems prohibitive, although president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said last week that he remains “confident” an accord will eventually be reached.

As for Baez, he’s not speaking in such definitive terms. The shortstop told reporters after yesterday’s game that his representatives and the Cubs continue to talk, though his personal focus is on the field at this point (links via Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times and Jordan Bastian of

Baez was, however, happy to discuss Francisco Lindor’s recent extension with the Mets and the manner in which it benefited next year’s class of shortstops. The 28-year-old called the Lindor contract “huge” for other shortstops in the game — next year’s class of free agents in particular. (Baez, Corey Seager, Trevor StoryCarlos Correa and Marcus Semien will all hit the market next winter.) “No one was going to get more than Lindor, and you’ve got to be honest about it,” Baez said. “[But] he opens doors for other people.”

Like Rizzo, Baez is attempting to put an uncharacteristically poor 2020 season in the rearview mirror. The former NL MVP runner-up batted just .203/.238/.360 through 235 plate appearances last year, but he’s not far removed from a .286/.321/.544 showing from 2018-19. Baez connected on his first homer of the season yesterday and has swiped a pair of bases already after stealing just three bags in 2020.

However, Hoyer made clear that a fast start to the year for any of their players won’t necessarily change the calculus in the team’s offers. Said Hoyer (via Dorsey): “These guys have long track records, and how a guy’s hitting in April — positively or negatively — is not going to impact our perception of that player’s value.”

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres Acquire James Norwood From Cubs]]> 2021-04-05T20:12:34Z 2021-04-05T19:10:19Z The Padres have acquired righty James Norwood from the Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Dauris Valdez, as announced by both teams.  Norwood has been optioned to San Diego’s alternate training site, and righty Javy Guerra has been moved to the 60-day injured list to create roster space.

Norwood had been designated for assignment by Chicago earlier this week.  Debuting in 2018, Norwood has appeared in each of the last three MLB seasons, amassing a 4.50 ERA over 22 total innings (with 21 strikeouts and 14 walks) for the Cubs.  Shoulder problems limited him to just three games and 1 2/3 frame of work in 2020.  The hard-throwing Norwood has posted some pretty solid strikeout totals in the minors, though control has been an increasing issue as he has worked his way up the minor league ladder — Norwood had an unimpressive 13.65% walk rate over 75 1/3 career innings at Triple-A.

The trade is, in essence, a swap of power arms who have hard some trouble getting the ball over the plate.  Like Norwood, Valdez has also had some control problems while moving up to higher levels of the minor leagues, posting a below-average 11.77% walk rate over 108 2/3 innings at the high-A and Double-A levels in 2018-19.  This said, there’s still plenty of potential for the 25-year-old, who was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 25 prospect in San Diego’s farm system.  Valdez has a 65-grade fastball that “routinely hits triple-digits” according to Pipeline’s scouting report, and he also possesses a plus slider and a solid changeup as a third pitch.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[How The Cubs Drafted Javy Baez]]> 2021-04-05T17:58:31Z 2021-04-05T17:57:02Z
  • The Cubs drafted Javier Baez with the ninth overall pick of the 2011 draft, a selection that has proven to be a winner even though Baez was one of many notable players taken in an unusually star-studded first round.  As Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune writes, the Cubs were set on Baez as their pick, though they were eyeing Jose Fernandez and C.J. Cron as Plan B options if Baez was selected by one of the eight teams picking in front of Chicago.  Tim Wilken, the Cubs’ director of amateur scouting at the time, said that the club would have taken Baez even if another star shortstop prospect in Francisco Lindor was still on the board — it ended up being a moot point, as Cleveland took Lindor with the eighth overall pick, just ahead of Baez and the Cubs at ninth.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Cubs Outright Ildemaro Vargas]]> 2021-04-02T01:36:50Z 2021-04-02T01:36:50Z
  • Cubs infielder Ildemaro Vargas cleared waivers and was assigned outright to the alternate training site, Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune was among those to note (Twitter link). The Cubs designated the 29-year-old for assignment over the weekend. Vargas is a switch-hitter who has been decent against left-handed pitching in his brief big league time. He hasn’t hit righties at all, though, and slashed just .196/.222/.314 in 54 plate appearances between the Diamondbacks, Twins and Cubs last season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jed Hoyer “Very Confident” Cubs Will Extend Anthony Rizzo]]> 2021-03-31T20:54:14Z 2021-03-31T20:47:16Z MARCH 31: President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said the Cubs are still “very confident” they will extend Rizzo, Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. The Cubs are willing to continue discussions into the season, but it’s unclear whether Rizzo will adjust his Opening Day deadline.

    MARCH 29, 7:10pm: The Cubs made Rizzo a five-year, $70MM extension offer, Mooney and Ken Rosenthal report. It was a front-loaded proposal with escalators that could have kicked in toward the back end of the deal.

    11:35am: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo told reporters today that extension talks with the team have stalled and a new deal now looks unlikely (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney). The slugger added that after speaking with his family and his representatives, he feels strongly about his previously set Opening Day deadline and has told his agents to stop talking to him about a contract (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jesse Rogers). Rizzo is “at peace” with the lack of a new contract and plans to shift his focus to the 2021 season.

    Rizzo is one of three prominent members of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series roster that is currently slated to hit the open market after the season. The others, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, have also been considered potential extension candidates. However, Rizzo was seen as perhaps the likeliest of the trio to sign, given his lengthier tenure with the club, his age and his expected price relative to those younger teammates.

    Lining up on a new contract was likely difficult for myriad reasons, though. Rizzo has already signed what proved to be a very beneficial deal for the Cubs once in his career. That contract, a seven-year, $41MM extension inked in May 2013, ultimately wound up spanning nine years and paying Rizzo $75MM after a pair of club options were picked up and after he triggered some escalators based on a trio of fourth-place finishes in MVP voting. Having already taken what now looks to be a discount once, he may not have been as keen on doing so a second time.

    It’s also tough to project Rizzo moving forward after he turned in one of his worst career showings at the plate in last year’s 60-game sprint. Rizzo appeared in 58 games for the Cubs and tallied 243 trips to the plate, but he batted just .222/.342/.414 along the way. His strikeout and walk rates remained strong, but that output obviously pales in comparison to the hearty .276/.379/.499 slash he logged from 2013-19. The Cubs likely have at least some trepidation as a result of last year’s downturn — particularly since Rizzo will turn 32 this August.

    The lack of a deal this spring doesn’t guarantee that Rizzo will be playing elsewhere after the 2021 season. It remains possible that the Cubs could come back to the table with a late offer that is more in line with the 31-year-old’s asking price to this point, just as it’s possible that he could play out the ’21 season, reach free agency and ultimately still opt to re-sign with the Cubs. Owner Tom Ricketts has been quite averse to long-term spending over the past three offseasons, but at least on the surface, Rizzo would seem like a possible exception due to his nine-year tenure as a Cub, his role as a team leader and the role he played in the franchise’s curse-breaking championship run.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cubs Designate James Norwood For Assignment]]> 2021-03-31T17:41:10Z 2021-03-31T17:41:10Z The Cubs announced Wednesday that they’ve designated right-hander James Norwood for assignment. His spot on the roster goes to catcher Tony Wolters, whose rumored one-year deal with the club has now been formally announced.

    Norwood, 27, has spent parts of the past three seasons in the big leagues with Chicago, pitching to a 4.50 ERA through 22 innings with sub-par strikeout and walk percentages (19.6 percent and 13.0 percent, respectively). He struggled in big league camp this spring as well, serving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and nine walks with 14 strikeouts through 7 1/3 innings of relief.

    Norwood’s heater averages better than 97 mph, and he has a minor league option remaining, which could appeal to another club willing to take a speculative bullpen flier on a live arm. The 2014 seventh-rounder carries a 3.91 ERA, a solid 26 percent strikeout rate and a 10.3 percent walk rate through parts of six minor league seasons.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cubs Sign Tony Wolters]]> 2021-03-31T17:34:03Z 2021-03-31T17:30:28Z 12:30pm: The Cubs announced that they have indeed signed Wolters to a one-year, Major League contract.

    9:00am: Veteran catcher Tony Wolters, who recently opted out of a minor league contract with the Pirates, is now likely to sign with the Cubs, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Bruce Levine of 670TheScore reported last night that the Cubs had interest in the longtime Rockies backstop.

    Willson Contreras, of course, is the starting catcher for the Cubs and should be in line for a sizable workload this year. However, the Cubs traded backup Victor Caratini to the Padres alongside Yu Darvish earlier in the winter, and they’ve done little to address the position in the subsequent months. Wolters and fellow veteran Jonathan Lucroy were on the Cubs’ radar, per Levine, but it seems the Cubs will go with the younger and more well-regarded defender of that pairing.

    Wolters, 28, has spent the past five seasons as the Rockies’ primary catcher despite a meager .238/.323/.319 career batting line (57 wRC+, 62 OPS+). He had a particularly rough year at the dish in 2020’s shortened schedule, batting just .230/.280/.270 in a limited sample of 109 plate appearances.

    On the defensive side of the coin, however, Wolters is considerably more appealing. He went just 3-for-20 in thwarting stolen bases last year, but prior to the 2020 season he carried a lifetime 32.8 percent caught-stealing rate that is well above the league average (around 27 percent). Wolters’ framing marks have dipped since 2019, but he graded as one of the game’s better options in that regard for much of his early career. Beyond that, Baseball Prospectus has graded him as average overall in terms of blocking pitches (and quite a bit above average as recently as ’19).

    The Rockies non-tendered Wolters rather than pay him a raise on last year’s $1.9MM salary. He still hasn’t reached five full years of big league service, so if Wolters is able to make the Cubs’ roster and stick through the season, he’d be controllable via arbitration through the 2022 campaign.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cubs Interested In Tony Wolters, Jonathan Lucroy]]> 2021-03-31T03:38:40Z 2021-03-31T03:38:40Z
  • The Cubs have interest in catchers Tony Wolters and Jonathan Lucroy, reports Bruce Levine of 670 the Score (Twitter link). A deal with the left-handed hitting Wolters might be more likely, Levine notes, considering Chicago’s starting catcher, Willson Contreras, hits right-handed. Both Wolters and Lucroy were recently released from minor-league deals with other clubs (the Pirates and White Sox, respectively) after failing to crack the active roster. Wolters has spent his entire MLB career with the Rockies, while Lucroy briefly played for the Cubs in 2019.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cubs Select Three Contracts, Designate Ildemaro Vargas]]> 2021-03-28T17:22:38Z 2021-03-28T17:10:10Z The Cubs announced that they have selected the contracts of left-hander Rex Brothers and infielders Eric Sogard and Matt Duffy.  Infielder Ildemaro Vargas has been designated for assignment to open up roster space.

    Brothers is back with the Cubs after signing a new minor league deal with the team in February, while Sogard and Duffy joined the organization on minors contracts of their own this past winter.  It was expected that Sogard would make the team after yesterday’s news that Nico Hoerner had been optioned to Triple-A, clearing the way for a Sogard/David Bote second base platoon.  Duffy is back in the majors for the first time since the 2019 season, as he didn’t reach the Show with either the Rangers or Yankees after signing minor league deals with the two squads last year.

    The roster shuffling leaves Vargas as the odd man out.  Vargas came to Chicago on a waiver claim from the Twins last September, capping off a nomadic season that saw the 29-year-old appear in games with the Cubs, Twins, and Diamondbacks.  The big majority of Vargas’ MLB playing time came in Arizona, where he hit .257/.287/.387 over 265 plate appearances with the D’Backs from 2017-20, with 211 of those PA coming in 2019 when Vargas saw a lot of work at second base.

    Vargas has played a handful of games as a first baseman, shortstop, and corner outfielder to go along with his much more extensive time as a second baseman and third baseman.  This multi-positional usage makes him an asset for the Cubs at Triple-A should he clear waivers, or possibly make him attractive to another team who wants to make a claim.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cubs Re-Sign Cameron Maybin]]> 2021-03-28T17:04:42Z 2021-03-28T17:04:54Z MARCH 28: Maybin has signed a new minor league deal with the Cubs and will report to their alternate training site.

    MARCH 27: The Cubs have released outfielder Cameron Maybin, the team announced.  Three other players (Shelby Miller, Pedro Strop, Rafael Ortega) on minor league deals were assigned to the team’s minor league camp, as was right-hander Trevor Megill.

    Maybin was first acquired by Chicago in a swap with the Tigers at last season’s trade deadline, and the veteran outfielder re-signed with the Cubs on a minors deal in February.  Maybin’s 14th Major League campaign saw him hit .247/.307/.387 over 101 total plate appearances with Detroit and Chicago, and he also spent two weeks on the injured list due to a quad strain.

    It wouldn’t be a surprise if Maybin signed a new deal with the Cubs and remained in the organization as depth, or if the release means that the two sides are truly parting ways if Maybin wants to find a clearer MLB opportunity elsewhere.  Jake Marisnick will handle fourth outfielder duties in Chicago, and the Cubs also have a couple of utilitymen in Eric Sogard and Ildemaro Vargas who can play the corner outfield in a pinch.  On the minor league front, the Cubs have Ortega, Michael Hermosillo, Ian Miller, and Nick Martini as outfield options with some big league experience.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Cubs’ Extension Talks]]> 2021-03-28T16:03:22Z 2021-03-28T16:03:22Z With Opening Day looming on Thursday, it doesn’t appear that the Cubs will have any contract extensions finalized with Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, or Kris Bryant prior to their first game, according to both NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan and’s Jesse Rogers.  This doesn’t necessarily mean at least one deal won’t eventually be worked out, since the Cubs “do not view Opening Day as a hard deadline,” Kaplan writes.

    Of the trio, Bryant seems the least likely to sign an extension, as there hasn’t been much indication that the two sides have gotten far in negotiations.  (As of March 10, Bryant said there hadn’t been any talks.)  The outlook could be a bit more positive for both Baez and Rizzo, since Baez has already expressed that he and his representatives were willing to keep negotiating into the season.

    The large majority of players prefer to restrict any contract talks to the offseason, so as to not have any lingering concerns or distractions impeding their focus once the games begin.  Rizzo has himself expressed this same preference, though Kaplan points out that Rizzo’s previous extension with the team (a seven-year, $41MM contract in 2013) wasn’t made official until May 2013.  Rizzo expressed some optimism a few weeks ago that the two sides could reach an agreement, and according to Kaplan, “club sources are confident that a deal will eventually get done.”

    That seven-year, $41MM commitment has now grown into a nine-year pact, as the Cubs exercised their club options on Rizzo for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, paying the first baseman $16.5MM each year.  That initial investment has paid off very handsomely for the team, as Rizzo hit .284/.388/.513 with 179 homers from 2014-19 and became one of the key figures of this championship-winning era of Cubs baseball.

    Rizzo turns 32 in August and is coming off a down year (.222/.342/.414 in 243 PA) by his normal standards, though given the unusual nature of the 2020 season, it’s hard to say whether Rizzo is actually experiencing any sort of decline.  With this in mind, it will be interesting to see what type of contract Rizzo lands if he and the Cubs do agree to an extension — or, in lieu of an extension, what type of free agent deal Rizzo might receive on the open market if he delivers vintage numbers in 2021.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Cubs Option Nico Hoerner, Brad Wieck]]> 2021-03-27T21:11:46Z 2021-03-27T21:11:44Z 4:11PM: The Cubs announced the move, with both Hoerner and left-hander Brad Wieck optioned to Triple-A.

    9:10AM: Last night, the Cubs optioned infielder Nico Hoerner, report Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers of ESPN (Twitter link). That sets the stage for non-roster invitee Eric Sogard to make the season-opening roster, Passan and Rogers add. Sogard’s contract will need to formally selected to the 40-man roster before Opening Day.

    Passan and Rogers suggest the Cubs’ decision not to break camp with Hoerner is fueled by a desire to gain an extra year of team control over the 23-year-old. Hoerner has 1.021 days of MLB service time, so the Cubs would need to keep him in the minors for 36 days to avoid him reaching two full years of service in 2021. Hoerner is presently controllable through 2025, so the demotion could keep him in Chicago until after the 2026 season.

    If optioning Hoerner is indeed motivated by service time concerns, it’s a bit of a bizarre decision. The Cubs are coming off a year in which they won the National League Central and are part of a four-team group with a plausible chance at claiming the division in 2021. Accepting a suboptimal second base situation for over a month of this season in order to hold onto Hoerner’s contractual rights for 2026 wouldn’t seem to be a worthwhile trade-off.

    There is a case to be made the Cubs are better off, strictly from an on-field perspective, in turning to a Sogard-David Bote platoon at the keystone over Hoerner. While Hoerner flew to the majors after being selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, he hasn’t yet been productive there. Across 208 MLB plate appearances, the Stanford product has hit just .247/.309/.333. He didn’t hit a single home run over 126 plate appearances last year, slugging a punchless .259.

    Of course, Sogard is coming off a dismal season of his own, having hit .209/.281/.278 with just one homer in 128 plate appearances with the Brewers. Sogard was quite good in 2019 but he’d never before approached the .457 slugging percentage or 13 homers he hit that year, so it didn’t seem he’d be able to sustain that level of production. Both Hoerner and Sogard have hit well in Spring Training.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Adbert Alzolay Has Fourth Minor League Option]]> 2021-03-24T02:07:27Z 2021-03-24T02:07:27Z The Cubs had been unsure whether right-hander Adbert Alzolay had a fourth minor league option, but they know now: An arbiter decided that he does, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago.

    This is good news for the Cubs, who will be able to demote Alzolay this season without worrying about losing him to another team. The 26-year-old hasn’t made a good case for a roster spot this spring, having yielded eight runs (seven earned) over four innings. He was much better in 2020, when he logged a 2.95 ERA/4.15 SIERA and posted 29 strikeouts – albeit with 13 walks  – in 21 1/3 frames.

    Alzolay made four starts last year, and it seems likely he’ll factor into the Cubs’ rotation again this season. However, knowing the Cubs can demote him, Alzolay is far from a lock to begin 2021 in the majors. Instead, Chicago could open the campaign with Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Zach Davies, Trevor Williams and either Alec Mills or Shelby Miller comprising its starting staff.