The Cubs made fewer cuts than expected ahead of Friday’s non-tender deadline, trimming just three players from the 40-man roster. After adding three minor league pitchers earlier in the week, they chose not to tender contracts to the same number on Friday. Righties Codi Heuer and Ethan Roberts and lefty Brandon Hughes are without contracts for the time being.
This was more a matter of bad timing than anything, as both Heuer and Roberts missed the entire 2023 season due to a combination of elbow issues. Hughes was limited by a left knee issue that flared up more than once before eventually requiring a season-ending debridement procedure.
Patrick Wisdom was a non-tender candidate as well, but he and the team have agreed to a salary figure that will keep him in Chicago for 2024. We can only assume for now that it’s a little less than the $2.6 million he was predicted to earn through the arbitration process.
Ed. note: Wisdom will actually earn $2.725 million next year, shows how much I know.
If I can get personal for a moment, I selfishly hope Roberts is willing and able to sign a minors deal to work his way back up to Chicago. I have no doubt the Cubs have extended such an offer, it’s just a matter of what makes the most sense for him. This gig has given me the opportunity to rub shoulders with a few players over the years, and none has had a bigger impact on me and my family than Roberts has.
Rather than sharing the story here, I’ll direct you to this thread on Twitter or this interview we did with him on our live podcast, The Rant Live. As much as I’ve come to understand and at times embrace the business of baseball, it can be pretty shitty sometimes.
As for other moves that will impact the Cubs in at least an indirect way, the Brewers non-tendered both slugging first baseman Rowdy Tellez and injured righty Brandon Woodruff. The latter was the subject of trade rumors as the Brewers tried to move him ahead of the deadline, so it’s surprising that they opted to cut him loose entirely rather than trying to work out a deal with a team that would want to work out a deal to extend him into next year.
It wouldn’t have made a ton of sense for the Cubs to give something up for him given the uncertainty of his return from capsular tear surgery, but now he looks like a very serious target. Not only did they just hire his former manager, but they also got Kyle Hendricks back to the mound following a similar injury. While Hendricks opted for a non-surgical route, it stands to reason that the organization has some solid insight into the rehab process.
Between Woodruff and Tellez being gone, the Cubs reap the benefit of facing a diminished Brewers squad that isn’t likely to replace that lost production in free agency. Unless, that is, the Cardinals’ devil magic has made its way north of the Cheddar Curtain.