Cubs non-tender three players, avoid arbitration with two and claim one off waivers

The Cubs non-tendered Brailyn Marquez, outfielder Rafael Ortega and right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaíno at Friday’s deadline.

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Cubs pitcher Brailyn Marquez sits in the dugout at 2022 spring training. The Cubs non-tendered him, along with two other players, on Friday.

Cubs pitcher Brailyn Marquez sits in the dugout at 2022 spring training. The Cubs non-tendered him, along with two other players, on Friday.

John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times

The non-tender deadline Friday, paired with the deadline to set reserve lists earlier in the week, set the foundation for the Cubs’ offseason.

The Cubs didn’t tender contracts to left-handed pitcher Brailyn Marquez, outfielder Rafael Ortega or right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino before the deadline, making them free agents.

Ortega, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time, has provided a left-handed bat to the Cubs’ outfield mix the last two seasons. He hit .241 this past season, mostly against right-handed pitchers, before suffering a season broken finger in mid-September.

Marquez and Vizcaino missed the 2022 season. Marquez, once considered the Cubs’ top pitching prospect, has battled injuries the last couple of years and had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in June. Vizcaino, whom the Cubs acquired from the Yankees in 2021 as part of the Anthony Rizzo trade, spent the season on the restricted list after failing to report in spring training.

The Cubs also avoided arbitration with two right-handed pitchers, agreeing to terms on 2023 contracts with Adrian Sampson ($1.9 million) and Rowan Wick ($1.55 million).

The club tendered contracts to 31 players on the 40-man roster, including four who are eligible for arbitration: outfielder Ian Happ, infielders Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal and right-handed pitcher Codi Heuer. The sides have until mid-January to agree on a salary for next season or exchange figures.

The Cubs also claimed infielder Rylan Bannon off waivers from the Braves. Bannon, a Joliet native, made his major-league debut in May. He went a combined 2-for-14 with the Orioles and Braves after slashing .249/.367/.421 in Triple-A.

Here’s where the roster stands, including holes to fill during the winter.


The Cubs are looking to add power, and the infield provides the most flexibility to do so.

They could add a more experienced bat alongside first baseman Matt Mervis, who is expected to make his big-league debut next season. Hoerner can play shortstop or move back to second base, putting the Cubs in the conversation to land one of the elite shortstops on the free-agent market.

The Cubs have several internal third-base options, including Bannon, Patrick Wisdom, Christopher Morel and Zach McKinstry.


‘‘Talking to a lot of these outfielders, left and right are taken [by Happ and Seiya Suzuki],’’ manager Davis Ross said during the Cubs’ last series of the season. ‘‘Pretty simple. There’s an open spot, and it’s in center field.’’

The Cubs could fill the spot internally, by committee as they did last season or look at outside options.


Willson Contreras officially hit free agency when he rejected the Cubs’ qualifying offer Tuesday. Veteran Yan Gomes was the backup last season but still played in 86 games. He slides into a more prominent role for now, but the Cubs could use more quality depth.


‘‘As far as the future of the rotation,’’ left-hander Justin Steele told the Sun-Times at the end of the season, ‘‘if you go and add a top-of-the-line arm to what we already have, you can see something really special unfold.’’

President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer has said adding to the starting rotation is an offseason priority, but he has talked around promising a ‘‘top of the rotation’’ arm.


The Cubs don’t have an obvious closer heading into next season, but they do have several younger pitchers who might develop into strong back-end relievers for years to come, including Brandon Hughes, Jeremiah Estrada, Manuel Rodriguez, Erich Uelmen, Wick and Heuer, who is expected to return from Tommy John surgery sometime next season. 

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