The Chicago Cubs cleared space on their 40-man roster on Friday as the team elected to not tender a contract to centerfielder Rafael Ortega and pitching prospects Brailyn Marquez and Alexander Vizcaino for the 2023 season. Ortega was one of the primary centerfielders for the Cubs during the 2022 season but the team has openly stated that an external candidate will likely get the lion's share of the playing time in centerfield for the 2023 season. Neither Marquez nor Vizcaino pitched at any level of the Cubs' organization last season as Marquez was dealing with a shoulder injury and Vizcaino never reported to the team in Spring Training.
Factoring in the waiver claim that the Cubs were awarded on Friday in snatching second baseman/third baseman Rylan Bannon from the Atlanta Braves, the team's 40-man roster now stands at 37. The Cubs now have the ability to sign at least three Major League free agents without being forced to make a corresponding roster move.
The expectation, however, is that more moves to the 40-man roster will be made in the weeks ahead to give the Cubs some added roster flexibility. The Cubs now have three fringe-Major League players that offer the same profile type. Those players are Bannon, the recently acquired Miles Mastrobuoni, and Zach McKinstry. Each fits the profile of having the ability to play multiple positions across the field while holding out hope that their offensive success in the minor league transitions to the Major League level. A likely scenario this offseason will see the Cubs attempt to sneak two of the three through waivers.
More Cubs News
A pair of Cub killers will no longer be a part of the National League Central moving forward as the Colorado Rockies claimed Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Brent Suter off waivers and the Cincinnati Reds traded infielder Kyle Farmer to the Minnesota Twins. Suter has a career 2.73 ERA against the Cubs in 27 appearances throughout his career. Meanwhile, Farmer slashed .371/.409/.613/1.022 in 67 plate appearances against the Cubs last season while also having 4 home runs.
Cody Bellinger is officially a free agent after not being tendered a contract from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bellinger has been a rumored target for the Cubs this offseason in their search for a new centerfielder.
Major League Baseball's official website does a good job of taking a look at players who became free agents on Friday Night after being non-tendered by their previous teams.
The Minnesota Twins will have a new look for the 2023 season as the team unveiled new uniforms on Friday.