By now, fans know a transaction freeze has hit baseball due to MLB’s lockout, which began a week ago.
But that doesn’t mean the Cubs and the rest of the league can’t conduct business in other ways.
There's no telling how long the lockout may last, but as teams settle into the new normal, there's a few items they can tend to during the indefinite work stoppage.
Teams are permitted to conduct interviews and hire managers/coaches during the lockout. The Mets and A's both have managerial openings.
For the Cubs, the most significant order of business is continuing contract extension talks with manager David Ross and filling out his coaching staff.
Ross is entering the final year of his original three-year contract. Both he and team president Jed Hoyer said in October they’ve had preliminary discussions on an extension, and Hoyer has conveyed his desire to keep Ross the Cubs’ manager long term, calling him a "star" this past season.
“David has done a fantastic job as a manager,” Hoyer said in October. “He's learned a ton on the job. Even while learning I think he's excelled. He's kept morale good. He's run the staff very well. I love having him as a partner.
“Our hope certainly is that David's here for a long time."
The lockout is an opportune time to continue talks with Ross and potentially reach a new deal.
The Cubs also have one more opening on Ross’ coaching staff. They plan to fill the vacated position of former associate pitching, catching and strategy coach Mike Borzello with two roles on the pitching side, so far naming Daniel Moskos assistant pitching coach — a new position on the staff.
Teams can make organizational additions in other areas, including the front office, and — in limited cases — on the player side.
Although trades and signing free agents to big-league deals are prohibited, teams can add players on minor-league deals. The transaction freeze only pertains to players subject to 40-man rosters.
MLB held the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft Wednesday, and the Cubs selected lefty Conner Menez from the Giants. They signed another pitcher, Stephen Gonsalves, to a minor-league deal last week.
Menez and Gonsalves offer pitching depth for 2022.
Other than that, teams can use the lockout period to tend to matters they typically cannot amid the wheeling and dealing of hot stove season — whether that's meetings on amateur and/or international scouting, player development or other areas.