Cubs Unofficially Finalize the 2011 Opening Day Roster

While the official announcement has not been made, the Cubs have finalized their 25-man Opening Day roster.

The Cubs optioned Welington Castillo to Triple-A Iowa and placed Max Ramirez on waivers Monday. The Cubs spring roster still stands at 26 while they wait to see if another team claims Max Ramirez. The Cubs are hoping to sign Max Ramirez to a minor league contract.

Koyie Hill will begin 2011 as the Cubs’ backup catcher.

The Cubs 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players but they will have to add Reed Johnson to the roster before Thursday’s deadline. Once Johnson is added and Max Ramirez is removed, the Cubs will have two open spots on their 40-man roster

Here’s the final update of Spring Training with news, notes and the unofficial 25-man Opening Day roster …

News and Notes

Angel Guzman threw 20 pitches in a minor league game Monday in Peoria. Reports suggested everything went well for Guzman. If everything goes as planned, Guzman will begin pitching in games every five days.

Blake DeWitt will play third base in Tuesday’s Cactus League finale … and in Wednesday’s Intrasquad game.

Mike Quade said he would post his Opening Day lineup Thursday prior to the team’s workout at Wrigley Field. According to a report from Bruce Levine, look for Kosuke Fukudome to leadoff against right-handed pitchers while Jeff Baker will probably hit at the top of the lineup against southpaws. Quade did not rule out the possibility of Darwin Barney leading off.

The Cubs will monitor Andrew Cashner’s innings this season.

The 25-man Roster

With Monday’s roster moves, the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster is set.

Pitchers (12)

Starting Rotation (5)

Ryan Dempster
Carlos Zambrano
Matt Garza
Randy Wells
Andrew Cashner

Bullpen (7)

Carlos Marmol
Kerry Wood
Sean Marshall
John Grabow
Jeff Samardzija
James Russell
Marcos Mateo

Catchers (2)

Geovany Soto
Koyie Hill

Infielders (6)

Carlos Pena
Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney
Starlin Castro
Aramis Ramirez
Blake DeWitt

Outfielders (5)

Alfonso Soriano
Marlon Byrd
Kosuke Fukudome
Tyler Colvin
Reed Johnson

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Well, there’s the update … it’s almost Opening Day!

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne
  • photovideo

    Granted, I don’t think Hill should make the roster. However, this team’s success or failure is not based on a back up catcher.

    • Agustin_Rexach

      I disagree. Choosing Hill is exactly what is wrong with this management. He costs more(waste of more money), he is old and has no future in this organization, he takes the roster spot and the chance of developing a young catcher for the future, a back up catcher needs to be very good defensively specially if he can’t hit… And Hill can’t hit for the life of him. Somebody said yesterday that a starting catcher plays 125 games give or take, that leaves 55 games in the hands of the backup…and 55 games, my friend, is the season.

      • Theboardrider

        It’s hard to develop anyone from the bench. Ramirez would have been better though, Castillo needs to play every day. Hopefully Soto plays well and we get a big haul of quality young guys from some taker!

      • studio179

        Not defending Hill, but you having Castillo sit on the bench is not the answer. Castillo needs to play everyday in AAA to improve.

    • Baron_S

      Hill is a bum and should be the team masseuse…

  • Tony

    Down to 25, and there is the obvious Hill that everyone but the decision makers, knows was a bad decision. Enough said.

    But what other spots are tough to take.


    Samardzija & Grabow

    Contract driven. That is it. Without the unexplainable, Full NO-trade clause to Samardzija (he could have given a limited no trade clause, with a gentlemen’s agreement, that wouldn’t have tied their hands on sending him to AAA again) Samardzija was stuck on the 25 man roster, with no process to send him to the minors one last time.Let’s hope he becomes a useful arm for Q. Grabow has been hurt, but really was never worth the contract he was given, even when healthy. Hopefully he surprises us, and becomes useful, otherwise, I hope they keep cutting the dead weight. Last year for Grabow, and most likely Samardzija, unless he really figures it out.

    Blake Dewitt & Jeff Baker – Scott Moore & Bobby Scales earned the spots and you can’t even say contracts was the reason. Both of these guys will be gone, by next year at this time

    Reed Johnson – Nice to have a 5th OF, but with the right bench IF’s, you don’t need a 5th OF, you need a big bat. That is what this spot should have been.

    Now I have a theory on why these decisions, and many others get made, this way. JH and most of his staff are the eye type scouts, not the stat guys. You can use your eyes and see alot, but most of the time, you need stats, to really break down, which player is better. I think JH still, overwelmingly, uses the eye test and then gives the benefit of the doubt to anyone who has major league experience. Otherwise I can’t explain –

    Hill over M Ramirez (I understand the idea of Castillo playing everyday)

    Dewitt over Scales

    Baker over Moore

    Grabow over Maine

    It just seems like the obvious decisions, always take so much longer for JH to make. Take Silva, wasn’t it obvious that he wasn’t a long term keeper for this team. So why not move him last year in May/June, when we had internal options to replace him. Start selling HIGH on players, you don’t want long term, and most of these other decisions, will start to fall into place, alot easier.

    • Ripsnorter1

      And now let’s talk about the lineup: Funko as the leadoff man means Colvin is on the bench. There’s your bat on the bench, Tony–and not in the lineup. It’s stupifying, isn’t it?

      I think the better play would have been:

      1. Keep Scales as your leadoff man, esp. vs. RHP. If you want to platoon with Baker, okay. DeWitt goes down to AAA. Scales gets on base, the primary job of the leadoff man. He can run. He can hit with some power. In the last 4 years he has hit about 10 HR per year, slugged in the .456 range, and his OBP was .397 last year, and .379 and .415 the two years prior. I don’t think Barney is the future, either. Not enough power. He slugged a mere .378 last year, and his career SLUGGING is approximately what Scales career OBP is.

      2. Scott Moore should be the reserve INF. Plays all the spots and CAN HIT for average and power.

      3. Hill is 1 for 32 batting, with 8 K’s. That .031 might be the lowest ST BA EVER to win a job. Castillo is on my team and he plays 2-3 starts per week. Save Soto’s body and bat. Either one would be a nice bat off the bench (better than Hill’s)., And don’t forget that you’d be saving about $600K, too. Apparently Hill’s bat has slowed even more.

      4. Colvin starts and Funko sits. It’s simple, isn’t it?

      • Tony

        Honestly, I would go with Barney at 2B and bat him lead-off and 8th, depending on if Fukudome is in the lineup that day. This kid is not destined for Cooperstown, or heading to the All-Star game. He is just a ballplayer, that will give you everything he’s got, and has always won. This year will be a true test for his record. But, give him the time, he may turn into a starter long term, or a role player, but I would rather give the time to a guy who has a future with the team, when it is not clear cut who should start.

        Agreed on 2-4!

        C’mon Opening Day, lets have some real games to Disqus.

    • John_CC

      You’re right, Tony, on all accounts. We also know that part of Hendry’s baseball philosophy states that veterans are better to have around than rookies. I think that is the main reason for Baker over Moore and Hill over Ramirez. Contracts also weigh in on some of these, mainly Hill, but Koyie would never have received that contract in the first place if there wasn’t some unhealthy obsession with him already. Same with Grabow, the contract was unhealthy, I think, based on Hendry’s obsession with Vets. Reed Johnson, again, veteran. I like Reed a lot, but you are exactly right that carrying a 5th OF that offers nothing more than your 4th OF is completely ridiculous.

  • Tony

    What do I like about the 25 man roster!!!!!!

    Cashner, Castro, Colvin!!!!!

    Great to see Cashner get a rotation spot. Be patient, he will be better than most teams 5th starters, and has a bright future, whether or not he ends up starting or in the back of the bullpen.

    Castro – I wanted him to make the team last year out of ST, and he has done more than anyone could have asked for him to do. He is fun to watch play baseball.

    Colvin – He needs to start! If that means anyone of the 3 aging vets, have to sit, so be it. Play the hot hand of those 3, give Colvin 1 day off a week, and let’s see if this kid can take the next step.

    Starting Pitchers – Nice rotation, it would still be good, even withou Garza, if we went with Coleman in the 5th spot. Either way, the rotation will not be the reason this team doesn’t win games.

    Bullpen – Marmol, Marshall, and Woody. Sorry, I love seeing Woody in the bullpen. The back of the bullpen is very good. I like watching Mateo pitch as wel.

    Offense and defense – not much good to say except keep the kids coming.

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    I’m guessing 74 to 82 wins this year. No chance at the playoffs. No hitting, no fielding but a good back of the bullpen.

    • Jon

      I would say Aramis (any year but last year), Pena (any year but last year), Byrd, Soto, Castro, Colvin, Soriano (at the bottom half of the order) is no juggurnaut but FAR from ‘no hitting’

  • Ripsnorter1


    Are you going to have another contest to guess the final standings for the Cubs, win totals, etc?

    • Neil

      Yes, the annual contest will run Thursday

      • Tony

        Always a good day to securely put on the Cubs Goggles and drink Blue Kool-aide.

        If you can’t do that on Opening Day, why be a fan!

        • Cheryl

          My guess would be 75 wins. Wild card a possibility. Aramis will be traded by July 1. DeWitt will be gone and Sota may well be gone by Aug. 1.

          • studio179

            Curious, why do you think Soto will be gone by August? Castillo? Soto’s arbitration after 2011?

          • Cheryl

            Primarily because of Castillo. I didn’t know about arbitration for him but that’s another good reason. Castillo will have had the added experience of AAA and it seemed like a good time to try and trade Soto.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I would agree with you, but for some reason, the Cubs’ management does not like Castillo. I don’t get it. Last Sept he was killing the ball, and they benched him in favor of Hill. So I do not see Soto going anywhere, or if he does, it would be to play Hill.

          • Cheryl

            All I can say is I don’t get it.

          • studio179

            The thought of placing Soto out there on the market is fine. It depends if Soto has a good year and if Castillo continues to develope. Soto is 28. That is not old, but catchers fall fast and hard many times…if normal. 😉 All things in the Cubs favor (Soto having a good to really good year and Castillo developing along) should have Hendry asking what he can get for Geo. No way do I expect this around July / August as you suggest. I don’t even expect it next offseason. That would be proactive. Trading an asset a year or two early as opposed to a year or two too late is not in the Cubs M.O.

          • Cheryl

            If they get something for the future for Sota, I can see it. What I don’t get is why management does not like Castillo, like Rip said. The Cubs have some talanted people coming up and this is supposed to be a very strong draft this year. As I look at the Cubs, I see a partial effort at improving the club. I think they made strides this year. But I don’t expect them to make the wildcard. I think there will be an ongoing evaluation of the 25 on the roster for the first few months, then trades.. If Sota had not had some injuries in the past that limited his playing I would say he could be retained. I am thinking of other teams and their timing when I suggest August as a possible trade date if Sota is traded.

          • Cheryl

            Time to sit back and hope for the best.

      • John_CC

        Is that also when you announce last year’s winner — or did i miss that over the dark season?

  • Weyrlord2003

    Koyie really needs to be moved, I mean I like the guy, but he needs a chance elsewhere

  • ripken boy

    Max Ramirez should of been the back-up catcher. I know the Cub pitchers like to throw to Koyie, but I think Soto needs to be pushed a bit and maybe even rested more and Max Ramirez has more upside than Hill. Castillo needs to play everyday and AAA is the best spot for him now so he can be ready in case Soto gets hurt.

  • C_hubs30

    Maybe Silva was right in saying that they knew who they wanted on the roster…Nobody was really competing for anything!!!! Take a look. Dewitt and and Koyie Hill makes the opening day roster. How? Hill hit .36 cent LMAO….DeWitt…what? a buck 50 SMH….So many people played much better! Scott Moore will turn out to be the next Casey McGhee! Kouske will start in right and Casey Coleman and Wellington Castillo are in the minor leagues!!!! Reason they both need more work but Cashner never started…Castillo need to learn how to call games… Hell i heard a lot of pitches are called form the bench anyway! I don’t know

  • cubs1967

    when in the history of spring training has a guy gotten 1 hit and made the team??

    how in the world could we try all off season to trade fukunuts and then he ends up starting on opening day??……..didn’t it get proven that colvin should be the starter and fukunuts be the back-up to the other 3 spots???……

    why does there have to be all this self-created drama??…..look at the silva BS!!

    newsflash for ricketts………….don’t worry about fans showing up so you have money at the trade deadline………….don’t even.

    103 yrs and counting…………SOS!

    • Ripsnorter1

      I remember Lou saying at one press conference that if the Cubs don’t score more runs, it would be another 100 years before they win anything. And Castillo hits a ton more than Hill’s .036 Batting average, so don’t expect them to win anything this year.

  • Bryan

    I fully recall last year when so many here were proclaiming (prior to opening day) that Castro had to start in AAA, was too young to play at the top level, needed more experience, etc, etc, etc.

    I believe that Aramis, if he can stay healthy, can have a solid year. But any roster that includes the likes of Fukodome and Soriano (as starters), and Dewitt and Hill on the bench are just destined for failure. For those who say (like they did Castro) that Castillo needs to play everyday at AAA, is wrong. You platoon two capable catchers, create competition, and likely don’t have a drop off regardless of who plays. But no, the Cubs will take an .036 catcher to Chicago…what other organization would make that decision based on the ST results of Ramirez and Castillo? Only JH, with his management pawn Quade.

    Let’s all remember folks that this payroll is still around $130m. As a fan base, don’t we deserve better roster and player development management, as well as on-field results. It’s sickening to continue to read about the management ineptness on the north side.

  • Neil

    According to Ken Rosenthal, Carlos Silva passed through waivers.

    • cubtex

      shocker :)

  • Kingdomusa

    If Soto gets hurt & Koyie hill moves up Jim Hendry should be let go. Castillo earned the spot. This is why ryno was not selected by hendry because Ryno develops youth & Hendry wants his vets to play. Hill at 0.31 batting average has to be the lowest ranked player to remail on a LLB team after Spring training. The cubs will never win big with Hendry in charge & youth & talent will never be served. We are lucky we have a little Vitamin C on our team in Castro, Colvin, & Cashner. why not add more to the drink in Castillo. Hendry was afraid of taking on Ryno because of his popularity.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Even if nobody gets hurt, Jim Clueless should be let go. Man, he’s awful.

  • Llshafer

    max ramirez or castillo would have been a better pick than hill

  • Cheryl

    Next question. The Cubs 40 man roster is now down to 37. They’ll put Reed on to make it 38, then add the former football player. That leaves one slot left. What happens there?