Cubs News: A busy day, free agency expectations, and more

MLB at Field of Dreams: Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds
MLB at Field of Dreams: Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Tuesday figures to be an important day for the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball as it represents both the deadline for players that received a qualifying offer to decide whether or not to accept the offer by 3 pm CT this afternoon as well as the deadline for teams to add any Rule 5 draft eligible prospects to the 40-man roster in order to keep them under team control.

In regard to the qualifying offer deadline, the Cubs extended only one qualifying offer this offseason and it was to catcher Willson Contreras. The qualifying offer carries a $19.65MM price tag for the 2023 season and if a player declines the offer, the team that signs the free agent must be forced to part with draft-pick compensation to the team that had the player at the end of the 2022 season. Contreras is expected to decline the qualifying offer from the Cubs and sign elsewhere for the 2023 season. One team that has emerged as a suitor for Contreras has been the Houston Astros.

In regard to the deadline for adding Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects to the 40-man roster, that must be completed by 6 pm CT this evening. The Cubs' 40-man roster currently stands at 33, meaning the team has plenty of space to protect prospects such as infielder Chase Strumpf or outfielder Darius Hill. There likely will be a flurry of moves today as teams have to make difficult roster decisions. It's possible that the Cubs may connect with the Tampa Bay Rays on a trade before the roster deadline this evening.

More Cubs News

There is an important word of caution that needs to be said regarding the Cubs' free agency spending. Be prepared for the first few free agency signings that the Cubs make to be smaller moves that fill some of the periphery holes on their active roster. This will not be a sign of the Cubs opting to go on the cheap but more-so aligning their roster with pieces that make it evident to their higher-priced targets that they are intent on competing in 2023.

Kyle Hendricks is returning to the Cubs' pitch lab this offseason with the hope of adding some velocity to his mix of pitches for the 2023 season. 2022 was a lost season for Hendricks due to injuries and struggles, so the Cubs really cannot count on the starting pitcher being at the top of their rotation for the 2023 season.

MLB News

Congratulations are in order for Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez and Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II as the two took home rookie of the year honors for the American League and National league respectively.

Former Major League Baseball outfielder Yasiel Puig is facing prison time after pleading guilty to federal charges of lying to federal investigators regarding his involvement in an illegal sports betting operation.