The Cubs had eight players being reinstated from the 60-day IL on Wednesday, putting them at 47 on the 40-man roster. Four players elected free agency, meaning the team still needed to cut at least three more from the roster in order to be able to make additional moves. That includes both free agency and making room for any additional prospects they want to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, which you can read a little more about here.
As for this first wave of moves, everything went pretty much exactly according to expectations. Let’s start with those who elected free agency:
These players still have four more days to work out a new deal with the Cubs, but it doesn’t feel entirely likely that any of them will. Duffy was a nice fit with the team after being somewhat of a surprise when he made the Opening Day roster out of camp and Chirinos performed well after being brought back to his original organization following injuries to several other pitchers. Maybe one or the other could find his way back at some point this winter.
Several other players were cut from the roster and outrighted to Triple-A and will likely become minor league free agents per Article X-DD.
A possibility exists that some of these players could end up back in the organization, particularly if they felt the Cubs offered a better opportunity for them. Stewart could fall into that category because he seemed to have started figuring some things out after failing to live up to the hype as the No. 4 overall pick by the Twins in 2013. Thompson slugged four homers in 15 games for the Cubs after a hot stretch at Triple-A and could parlay that into a big league deal elsewhere.
Again, there will still lots of moves made as offseason moves dictate the creation of additional roster space.
Update: Lefty reliever Adam Morgan, who was eligible for arbitration, has elected free agency. That apparently means the Cubs let him know they would not be tendering him a contract for next season, which is only mildly surprising.