UPDATE

Well, it’s been confirmed by a few Cubs reporters now. Kyle Schwarber will be non-tendered, making him a free agent.

UPDATE

So, Jose Martinez has already been non-tendered and according to Bob Nightengale, Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber will soon be free agents, too.

The non-tender deadline is nearly upon us and there’s a good chance that at least one member of the 2016 World Series winning Cubs will be cut loose from the organization.

I’m sure most of you know what non-tendering a player in MLB means, but in case you need a quick reminder:

When a club “non-tenders” a player, it declines to give that player a contract for the upcoming season, thereby immediately making him a free agent. Players on the 40-man roster with fewer than six years of Major League service time must be tendered contracts each offseason by a set deadline — typically a date in early December — or non-tendered and released to the free-agent pool.

The deadline is at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

We’ve seen the rumors for the past month about the Cubs possibly getting so desperate to slash payroll heading into the 2021 season that the front office would consider non-tendering Kris Bryant. But, I mean, c’mon, not even in the darkest timeline could the Cubs realistically do that. However, we can’t fool ourselves into thinking the organization isn’t trying to save some money this offseason, it is, and with that premise here are a few players who are most likely going to be non-tendered.

Kyle Schwarber

Theo Epstein has officially ended his tenure as the top man in charge of the Cubs and his number one guy might be following him out the door. Yeah, Schwarber has always been Theo’s guy, but now Jed Hoyer is running the show so there’s no guarantee that he’ll get the same backing from Jed as he got from Theo.

And you know, there’s also the money thing.

Schwarber is in the final year of arbitration and is projected to earn as much as $9.3 million in 2021. Now, while Schwarber has shown a few stretches of being a pretty good hitter, and excellent in the second half of 2019, he’s also been just above average for his career. This isn’t to say that he can’t turn it around and finally put up consistent numbers at 27-years-old, but can the Cubs bet about $9 million on Schwarber putting it all together?

As for Schwarber’s trade value, we’ve seen with other corner outfielders that teams simply aren’t interested in making deals for them. Even for a guy that you can basically count on hitting 30+ home runs a year, the value seems to be non-existent.

If the Cubs are looking to chop off a decent chunk of money off their books, then Schwarber might be the biggest name on the team to be non-tendered.

Albert Almora Jr.

What can you say about Albert Almora Jr.? Maybe things turn out way different for him if he was used properly, but damn, his career path plummeted since 2018. Unlike Schwarber, who I’m mostly guessing at his chances of being non-tendered, I think Almora’s non-tender has been written on the wall ever since he was optioned to South Bend at the end of August.

Once thought of as the future starting center fielder for the Cubs, Almora went from a leadoff option, to a platoon player, to a guy who couldn’t even be counted as a defensive replacement let alone a capable bat off the bench a month into the 2020 season.

Almora is heading into his second arbitration year and at a projected $1.5 million salary, he’ll be an easy cut by the team.

José Martínez

I was pretty excited, or as excited as you can get for a platoon bat that wasn’t exactly going to be the savior of the offense, but yeah, I liked the José Martínez acquisition this past summer by the Cubs. Then, Martínez went 0-for-21 in 10 games, got on base exactly one time on a walk and we were all very sad. He’s projected to get a little more than $2 million in 2021, but the Cubs will probably just want to replace him with a guy on a minor-league deal.

Kyle Ryan – other relievers

Kyle Ryan has a similar story to a bunch of pitchers in 2020. The lefty’s velocity was down to begin the year and he was getting rocked. I mean, we all expected Ryan to be one of the few guys that David Ross could count on out of the bullpen, but Ryan was getting hit hard almost every time he was out on the bump.

This isn’t really calling out Ryan, because it did appear as though the Cubs found a guy, but because of the financial climate that the Cubs are in (I know it’s BS) Ryan along with most of these relievers might get let go because the team can get similar production from other pitchers on cheaper deals. So yeah, this goes for Ryan as well as Colin Rea, Dan Winkler, Ryan Tepera and Rex Brothers.

Again, just like last offseason, the Cubs are most likely going to be adding pitchers on minor-league deals. Yay.

By the way, every time I mentioned the projected arbitration salary figures I got them from MLB Trade Rumors. They do an awesome job of calculating those salaries. Check it out.