It has been a disappointing few months for baseball fans. First, Major League Baseball decided to eliminate 42 minor league baseball teams. Now, as sports organizations begin to move forward following COVID shut downs, MLB owners and players are in a dispute. No start date has been set as we are just a couple days away from June 1.
Now, we are getting reports of teams releasing hundreds of minor league players across the league. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reported the Chicago Cubs released 28 minor league baseball players this week.
Oscar De La Cruz
Among the names on the list were formerly highly touted prospects like Oscar De La Cruz and Jake Stinnett. Others were long-time organization guys like Charcer Burks and Wladimir Galindo. Others like Brock Stewart, Carlos Asuaje, and Jordan Patterson were guys with big league experience that the Cubs took flyers on.
It’s a shame to see these names typed out like that. There is more than just a name behind those 28 lines of text. Those are 28 men that now find themselves without a job in the game they love. My hope is all 28 men land somewhere else in the game of baseball soon.
I have met a handful of the players released by the Cubs this week. Carlos Asuaje took a moment to sign a baseball for me as he walked down the path between the performance center and Sloan Park before a spring training game in late February.
That same day Brock Stewart also stopped to sign a ball. Stewart is a Normal, Illinois native who stayed in town to play collegiate baseball at Illinois State before beginning his pro baseball career. Stewart pitched in a handful of MLB games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays between 2016 and 2019.
Over on the back fields where the minor league players went through workouts, Dario Beltre signed a baseball. Beltre has bounced around the minor leagues for different organizations since 2010.
The Cubs signed him this past January after a couple seasons playing in double-A with the Mobile BayBears.
Jordan Patterson signed with the Cubs in February. He had a cup of coffee with the Colorado Rockies in 2016. MLB.com ranked Patterson as the Rockies’ 13th best prospect in 2017.
What is really eye opening is the downhill slide of Oscar De La Cruz. He was the Cubs number one prospect by MLB.com in 2017. He was ranked 10th in 2018, and fell to 22nd in the 2019 list.
Charcer Burks was a guy that seemed like a Cubs lifer. He was never a top prospect in the organization, but seemed to excel at every level. He steady ascent up the Cubs minor league ladder reminds me of David Bote. Unfortunately, Burks won’t get to that next level in Chicago like Bote did.
It’s a sad day in baseball as we see not only these 28 players lose their jobs, but similar lists being released by other MLB teams. Best of luck, and hopefully these guys can bounce back soon.