MLB Free Agency

Cubs make flurry of roster moves as MLB free agency begins

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The Chicago Cubs have made a series of roster moves ahead of the start of MLB free agency this week, and they also lost a few other players to waiver claims.

Several moves had already been publicized in recent days. Outfielder Cody Bellinger elected free agency, declining his player option for the 2024 season. The Cubs also made him a qualifying offer, meaning that they would receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere this offseason.

Pitcher Marcus Stroman also opted out of his contract, electing free agency, as did relief pitcher Brad Boxberger.

Finally, pitcher Drew Smyly chose not to exercise his opt-out clause, returning to the Cubs’ roster.

The Cubs had made several minor league moves in recent days, but while Nick Burdi cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Iowa, several other players did not. That list included pitcher Jeremiah Estrada, who was claimed on waivers by the San Diego Padres.

Infielder Jared Young was also claimed, heading to the St. Louis Cardinals, according to the league.

Finally, the Cubs agreed to a trade, sending pitcher Brendon Little to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations.

The last move the Cubs made was to add shortstop Luis Vázquez to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 37 players as free agency begins.

That list includes a quartet of players who were activated from the 60-day injured list, including pitchers Brandon Hughes, Ethan Roberts and Codi Heuer. Infielder Nick Madrigal was also activated from the list.

Any moves in free agency will require the Cubs to clear room on their 40-man roster, meaning that they have some wiggle room to work with as the free agent window opens.

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