Cubs Minor League Free Agency Arrives: 21 Out the Door, 10 Retained

Minor League free agency kicked off late on Sunday, but the nature of the beast is that it takes a little while to get the full slate of transactions recorded. Now we know which Cubs minor leaguers wound up hitting free agency, and, by extension, which ones were retained on new minor league deals.

First, the group outgoing Cubs minor leaguers hitting free agency, via BA, in alphabetical order:

RHP Jose Almonte

SS Abiatal Avelino

RHP Joe Biagini

RHP Dakota Chalmers

OF Yovanny Cuevas

OF Johneshwy Fargas

RHP Juan Gamez

C Taylor Gushue

RHP Michael Hauschild

C P.J. Higgins

LHP Alex Katz

LHP Ryan Kellogg

3B Tyler Ladendorf

LHP Ryan Lawlor

LHP Luis Lugo

RHP Dillon Maples

RHP Jackson McClelland

OF Ian Miller

C Raymond Pena

RHP Marcus Walden

RHP Joseph Wieland

Some thoughts:

Off goes Dillon Maples, after a decade in the organization. I have no ill will toward a guy who grinded for a long time before he even got his big league shot, and on whom it was so easy to dream. It was frustrating to see his obvious potential unrealized year after year, but it became clear it was just not going to happen with the Cubs (if at all). I do not expect him back on a minor league deal with the Cubs, instead figure he’ll sign with one of the pitching nuts organizations (Dodgers, Rays, Guardians, Twins?) and break out next year. Natch.

The Cubs didn’t retain catcher P.J. Higgins, who’ll see if there’s a better depth catching opportunity out there for him (or maybe the Cubs decided the glove was simply never going to be big-league-caliber (or maybe the forearm injury is still a concern)).

Dakota Chalmers was a guy I’d hoped the Cubs could re-sign before he hit free agency, because he’s one of those “clearly has big league pitches, just needs to develop modest control” types. Cubs hadn’t had a chance yet to see how he’d play out of the bullpen, and he only just turned 25. Maybe they can still re-sign him when all is said and done.

As for guys the Cubs did retain, Arizona Phil reports there were at least 10 re-signed before the deadline, most of whom dealt with significant injuries in 2021:

RHP James Bourque

C Erick Castillo

OF Donnie Dewees

LHP Ben Holmes

LHP Bryan Hudson

RHP Nicholas Padilla

C Tyler Payne

LHP C. D. Pelham

C Raymond Pena (Phil has him as re-signed, BA has him as having reached FA)

RHP Eury Ramos

RHP Aneuris Rosario

The best news there is Hudson, a possible breakout relief prospect heading into 2022. The former third rounder really started to put it together at Double-A, and it’s good to know the Cubs will have him for at least one more year to see if he can keep it going at Triple-A.

Soon, we’ll be combing the OTHER teams’ outgoing minor league free agents for some guys that hopefully the Cubs can make ASAP priority targets. Hopefully they’ve already been doing that groundwork, actually.