The Cubs just graduated a rookie class that smashed all expectations for this year – forcing everyone to remember that it’s not supposed to be this easy – but the organization will still need another wave of talent coming to become a perennial contender.
The Cubs added four players to their 40-man by Friday’s deadline – with catcher Willson Contreras being the headliner – and protected them from the Rule 5 draft in December.
Contreras – the organization’s minor league player of the year – won a Southern League batting title. The converted infielder is 23 years old and expected to develop his defensive game behind the plate at Triple-A Iowa in 2016.
The Cubs also added right-hander Pierce Johnson, infielder Jeimer Candelario and first baseman Dan Vogelbach from Double-A Tennessee, bringing their 40-man roster to 37 players.
Johnson – the 43rd overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Missouri State University – has struggled with injuries and inconsistency throughout his career so far.
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Candelario, who’s about to turn 22, recently played in the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game. Realistically, Vogelbach is probably a trade chip for an American League team that might need a future designated hitter.
The Cubs also acquired right-hander Spencer Patton from the Texas Rangers for minor-league infielder Frandy Delarosa, trying to build out their bullpen with volume.