Chicago Cubs non-tender former top prospect Brailyn Marquez and 2 others while avoiding arbitration with Adrian Sampson and Rowan Wick
The Chicago Cubs are moving on from their former top prospect.
Pitcher Brailyn Marquez’s career has been marred by injuries and setbacks. The Cubs on Friday non-tendered the left-hander, who has not thrown a competitive pitch since his major-league debut in 2020. Although the 23-year-old Marquez was not arbitration-eligible, the Cubs opted not to give him a contract for 2023 before Friday’s tender deadline.
A consensus top-100 prospect the previous two years, Marquez entered 2022 aiming to get on track after contracting COVID-19 in 2021 and subsequently developing myocarditis, which hindered him as he was unable to build up shoulder strength. His arrival to spring training in March was delayed by another bout with COVID. Then, before he was healthy enough to join an affiliate, Marquez underwent a surgical debridement on his left shoulder June 17, ending his season.
The 40-man roster spot represented more value to the organization than the uncertainty surrounding Marquez and the potentially limited upside of a pitcher who heads into next season with only two-thirds innings since the end of the 2019 minor-league season. Marquez could come back on a minor-league deal, but it would make sense for both sides to part ways and for the lefty to get a fresh start. In his one big-league appearance, Marquez surrendered five runs and walked three batters in two-thirds of an inning against the White Sox on Sept. 27, 2020.
Right-hander Alexander Vizcaíno, who also was not yet arbitration-eligible, and outfielder Rafael Ortega were non-tendered too. Vizcaíno, acquired with Kevin Alcantara from the New York Yankees in July for Anthony Rizzo, was placed on the restricted list in the spring when he stayed in the Dominican Republic and did not report to camp. Ortega’s breakout 2021 season, which included hitting three home runs at Nationals Park, failed to carry over to this year. He hit .241 with a .331 on-base percentage and 95 OPS+ before he suffered a season-ending left ring finger fracture in September.
The Cubs claimed infielder Rylan Bannon off waivers from the Atlanta Braves to put their 40-man roster at 37 players. Bannon, 26, debuted last season but spent most of the year at Triple A for the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves, combining to hit .249/.367/.421 and playing second and third base.
Right-handers Adrian Sampson and Rowan Wick agreed to contracts for 2023 to avoid arbitration. Sampson provided valuable starting pitching depth as injuries piled up. He finished with a 3.11 ERA over 104⅓ innings in 21 games (19 starts). Wick’s inconsistencies prevented the Cubs from using him in the type of higher-leverage situations they envisioned after the trade deadline. But his experience made it worth bringing him back to see if he can recapture his 2019-20 form.
Four arbitration-eligible players have been tendered 2023 contracts: outfielder Ian Happ, right-hander Codi Heuer and infielders Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal. It would make sense for the Cubs to explore contract extensions before spring training for Happ, who will be a free agent after 2023, and Hoerner, who is coming off his best big-league season.