Cubs Get Busy on Rule 5 Friday: Four High Profile Prospects Added to the 40-Man Roster
The Cubs had until 7 p.m. on Friday to protect certain players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. They did not shock anyone by selecting four players to add to the 40-man roster.
#Cubs today selected the contracts of INF Jeimer Candelario, C Willson Contreras, RHP Pierce Johnson & INF Dan Vogelbach.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 21, 2015
For Johnson and Contreras, the selection is likely a validation of their solid efforts. For Candelario, there is still a lot of hope that he is quickly rounding into form. And for Vogelbach, this is proof that not all hope is lost after he had a blistering spring in 2015 only to be hampered by injuries the rest of the summer.
Their selection also means several other things. One, the Cubs are not willing to let them go for nothing. Two, the prospects still have value – whether that is as a Cub or in a trade is still up for grabs. And three, there is still room for growth and development before the Cubs make a final decision on their future in the organization.
Some of the high profile prospects the Cubs left unprotected on Friday include: SP Felix Pena; RPs PJ Francescon, Michael Jensen, Corey Black, and Steve Perakslis; OF Bijan Rademacher; and IF Stephen Bruno
In the coming years, it is going to be hard for the Cubs to protect all of their top prospects. They only have so many roster spots and a wealth of talent getting ready to flood into the upper levels of the minors the next two years.
Next year, Duane Underwood will lead a crop of eligible pitchers who currently have won back-to-back championships at Kane County and Tennessee.
The Cubs roster now stands at 37.
Editor’s note: When I opened this draft to edit it, I was immediately take aback by the picture Todd chose. Not because of Pierce’s flowing locks, but because I was actually there when the picture was taken. My son and I had made the seven-hour commute down to Kodak to see the Smokies and it was easily one of the best baseball experiences I’ve ever had. We got to the game just after the gates opened and had planned on taking advantage of the bounce houses, but the high winds blew them away, literally.
Then we looked down in the seats and saw Johnson in the midst of a photo shoot. It was a pretty laid-back affair, as is anything surrounding a AA baseball game, so my son headed over to get an autograph. There was my little boy, his Cubs cape mimicking the hair of the ballplayer before him, getting his first signature of the night. Seeing that picture brought those memories flooding back, which was pretty awesome.