Chicago Cubs News: Adding a player via Rule 5 draft isn't smart

Chicago Cubs Introduce David Ross - News Conference
Chicago Cubs Introduce David Ross - News Conference / David Banks/GettyImages

Although almost all of the focus is on free agency and the winter meetings this week, It's important to remember that another phase of the offseason is rapidly approaching. To revisit, the Chicago Cubs protected prospects Brennen Davis, Kevin Alcantara, Ben Brown, and Ryan Jensen from the Rule 5 draft. After Rylan Bannon was picked up on waivers by the Houston Astros, the Cubs' 40-man roster sits at 36. That, ultimately, is where it needs to sit going into the winter meetings.

If you want to compete next season, using up one of your 40-man roster spots on the Rule 5 draft is counter-productive. Rule 5 eligible prospects are not the place to find a diamond in the rough if your ultimate goal is reaching the postseason as soon as next year. Not to say that these guys don't have potential, but with only four roster spots to play with and several glaring needs, the Cubs can do themselves a favor by just sitting out of the Rule 5 draft altogether.

In 2021, the Cubs selected Gray Fenter from the Baltimore Orioles, who was later returned in March. In 2019, the Cubs took Trevor Megill from the Padres. After being returned and traded back to the Cubs, Megill posted an 8.37 ERA in just 23.2 IP. This is not to say that every Rule 5 pick will be detrimental. Still, with only so many spots on the 40-man roster, the team must focus its openings for free agency to become as competitive as possible.

The Chicago Cubs shouldn't focus on Rule 5 draft to address roster needs.

With needs at catcher, first base, center field, and the starting rotation, if they are all filled successfully, that alone fills your 40-man. That's before you entertain the idea of adding a star shortstop. The team can opt to go with Patrick Wisdom at first base, keep Christopher Morel at third, and address center field, catcher, and shortstop. Therefore, you can try to add Kodai Senga as well. Should Senga sign elsewhere, the Cubs' best bet to acquire an ace-caliber arm is via trade. Hopefully, you can clear up an extra 40-man spot in that scenario.

Next. Cubs need to act quickly on shortstop market. dark

Regardless, the Cubs have their work cut out for them in the coming week. They can ill afford to avoid getting aggressive during the winter meetings. Don't be surprised if nearly half of the top free agents are off the board within a week. Not adding anybody during the winter meetings or the proceeding 48 hours leading up to them will prove costly to a team looking to be competitive next season. They will only make things more complicated by using up roster spots in the Rule 5 draft.