10/31 Free agent update

With the World Series now complete, the following Cubs players are free agents:

RHP Scott Baker
RHP Kevin Gregg
RHP Matt Guerrier
C Dioner Navarro

The Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 34.

Teams have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents for five days after the completion of the World Series. Baker, Gregg, Guerrier and Navarro will be free to begin negotiations with all 30 teams, starting at 11 p.m. CT on Monday. The Cubs’ quartet are among 147 players who have officially filed for free agency.

5 Comments

My guess is that Gregg is a goner. Love to have Navarro back as a backup to Castillo, but he hit well enough last year that some team looking for a catcher who can’t afford Brian McCann might see Navarro as a cheaper alternative. Maybe free agent Geo Soto returns to the Cubs as a backup? Guerrier was doing alright before he got hurt. Maybe he gets an invite to Spring Training, but a guaranteed deal might be a bit much. As for Baker, maybe they try again with him and a one year deal. If he stays healthy and reestablishes himself, he can probably get the Cubs a pair of decent prospects at the deadline.

Have to agree with the way you put things regarding all 4 players Doug. There may be several teams willing to allow Navarro a job as a starter, he is still young enough to do so. At least the 2014 season will one that none of the four free agents will make or break. The Cubs will “limp” along to 2015 (when I think SIGNIFCANT roster moves will be made, if not the end of 2014) with or without these four. Agree mostly about Navarro. If I were Epstein I would tell Navarro he is not the “back up” but the “co-catcher” and then I would advise the new manager to play both Castillo AND Navarro regularly if not equally. Castillo was not THAT good to keep Navarro on the bench. Castillo can still use some time. Maybe one or both should be turned into a back up for Rizzo at 1B? That was a sore spot last year.

The Cubs organization is pretty thin at catcher, so I think they’d like to give Castillo another full season of Major League development. His defensive numbers were actually pretty good, but he made a few mistakes, which you would expect from a catcher in his first full Major League season. Offensively, he had a power outage until the last month of the season, but had a decent overall average and started to show a bit more patience at the plate in the second half. Overall, the Cubs need one more year to see if Castillo is the guy they want to move forward with, which means whomever the backup catcher is will probably play no more than 60 games next season. Another option would be to sign Salty (I’m not going to bother to look up how to spell his last name until there’s at least a credible rumor that he’s talking to the Cubs) to be your catcher for the next few years and trade Castillo for a few prospects, but there’s a lot of moving parts there which makes it unlikely to happen. Maybe you can keep Navarro on if you tell him he’ll play first against tough lefties or when Rizzo needs a day off, but I’m guessing any team that offers him the starting job right off the bat will probably get him, unless he really likes Chicago and doesn’t mind being the backup at this point in his career.

Doug, they are thin at catcher in terms of immediate help but there are some kids to keep an eye on Cael Brockmeyer, Ben Carhart, Erick Castillo and especially Mark Malave.

And don’t forget about Koyie Hill’s possible return…oh never mind, Hendry is gone.

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