Mike Quade along with members of his coach staff are scheduled to meet with Jim Hendry and the front office Tuesday morning to discuss the team’s roster. The main topics up for debate are the backup catcher’s job, backup infielder, second base, two spots in the pen, and the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation.
A majority of the Cubs’ Opening Day roster has been set for months. It appears both Reed Johnson and Darwin Barney have earned a spot this spring. Johnson was a non-roster invite to big league camp and will have to be added to the team’s 40-man roster, which currently stands at 39 players. Barney has opened a lot of eyes this spring and right now is the only viable backup to Starlin Castro.
The backup catcher’s job could go to Koyie Hill, Welington Castillo or Max Ramirez … while Blake DeWitt is on the roster “right now” but the team has not left Arizona yet. If DeWitt does not make the cut, it could open a spot for Scott Moore or Bobby Scales. Both Scales and Moore were non-roster invitees to camp and would have to be added to the 40-man roster.
Here’s the update on decision day that includes info on Angel Guzman, plus notes from radio interviews with Pat Listach and Jim Hendry …
Mike Quade told the media Monday, “I think the conversation tomorrow basically talks about everybody’s role on this club — who’s still alive to make this club, who’s not, where we see the depth, the rankings from the pitching to the bullpen, the whole club. We have decisions to make. We know a healthy [Aramis] Ramirez is our third baseman, but we’re going to go through the whole club — at least that’s what I want to do. We’ll look at every angle, every possibility.”
According to multiple reports, Quade has already had “some healthy disagreements with Hendry, Bush and others” about the roster.
Welington Castillo has impressed Quade this spring. The question with Castillo is, would he be better to play everyday in Iowa or backup Geovany Soto in the big leagues.
Blake DeWitt could have played himself out of a job to start the season. Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney have out hit DeWitt while the former Dodger has worked on the changes he and Rudy Jaramillo made in the off-season to his batting stance. Barney has also shown the ability to catch and throw the baseball … something the entire roster has struggled with this spring.
Quade said Monday that DeWitt has a spot on the roster “right now” then pointed out the Cubs have not broken camp yet.
Bruce Levine broke down the Cubs’ roster. According to Levine, Randy Wells will be the team’s fourth starter. Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, John Grabow and Jeff Samardzija have secured five of the seven spots in the bullpen. If the Cubs go with a third lefty in the pen, it will be either James Russell or Scott Maine.
Reed Johnson has won the fifth outfielder’s job, which means the Cubs will option Fernando Perez to Triple-A Iowa … Perez has one minor league option left.
According to Bruce Levine, Darwin Barney is a lock to make the roster unless Hendry claims a veteran infielder off the waiver wire.
Angel Guzman is rehabbing in minor league camp and is scheduled to throw batting practice Wednesday. If all goes well, Guzman could throw in a minor league game in the next week.
Tuesday (March 22) is the one-year anniversary of Guzman’s reconstructive shoulder surgery.
Guzman threw Sunday and is looking forward to pitching in a rookie league game.
News and Notes
According to Bruce Levine (during Saturday’s Talkin’ Baseball), the Cubs have several options with Carlos Silva. 1) They could include money and trade him 2) Put him in the bullpen until they can trade him 3) Have him come up with an “injury” and put him on the disabled list 4) Last alternative, to release him. The Cubs are prepared to release him but that is the worst-case scenario.
The Carlos Silva situation has been created by Jim Hendry’s worst signing. The Cubs got more out of Silva last year than they ever thought they would.
According to Keith Moreland, Welington Castillo is pushing Koyie Hill for the backup catcher’s job.
Pat Listach on Talkin’ Baseball
Mike Quade’s bench coach joined Bruce Levine and Dave Juday Saturday morning during Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000)
Pat Listach began the interview by saying the first camp under Mike Quade has gone very well. Listach indicated Quade is extremely hands-on and is extremely intense.
Listach jumped at the chance to return the Cubs organization. Listach said the Cubs have a great organization and it was a no-brainer to return.
The Cubs have a lot of candidates for the second base job. Listach brought up the rough spring Blake DeWitt has had but pointed out that he is working on a revamped swing. Listach described DeWitt as a hard working kid. DeWitt comes in early, stays late and is always working … both on his defense and offense. DeWitt takes grounders and works on his throws daily.
DeWitt spent time over the winter revamping his swing and stance with Rudy Jaramillo. Listach hinted at the fact that could have something to do with the horrible spring he’s had.
Outside of DeWitt, Jeff Baker and Bobby Scales have had good springs … and Darwin Barney has opened a lot of eyes.
Barney is not a carbon copy of Ryan Theriot … but close. Listach said that Barney is a little stronger, a little faster and is bigger than Theriot. Nothing against the former Cub, but Listach said that Barney can play both positions (shortstop and second base) better than Theriot.
Listach went on to explain that Barney is a winner … and a winning attitude can be contagious.
Levine asked Listach what are a few of the differences between Lou Piniella and Mike Quade. Listach reminded Levine that he was not with the team when Lou was here. Listach knows Piniella demanded respect. Listach said that Lou intimidated younger players … Mike Quade does not want the young players to be scared of him.
Aramis Ramirez appears healthy and had fresh legs. Listach said that Ramirez was a little stiff early in camp but appeared to be refreshed when he came back from the day off.
Camp has been very good with a lot of energy. Listach credits the energy in camp to everyone being positive and upbeat. All of the players want to win and win now.
Jim Hendry on The Score
Jim Hendry joined Barry Rozner and Matt Spiegel on Hit and Run Sunday morning. The Cubs’ GM is real happy the team has stayed healthy this spring, as well as other things.
Hendry did not sound happy about the Cubs’ spring record. He said no one like to have a terrible record and the goal is to play around .500 ball in the exhibition season.
The pitching staff is healthy. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano have put together good springs but Hendry is very happy with the way Randy Wells has pitched in Arizona. Andrew Cashner is progressing well and Hendry doesn’t think he’s ever seen Kerry Wood pitch as well as he has this spring.
Carlos Silva hasn’t pitched very well this spring but the position players have struggled behind him in his outings. Hendry said he’s also been hit hard, which has not helped. The Cubs still plan on giving him a chance at a spot in the rotation. There have been a lot of guys in the big leagues that have had a bad spring then put together a good season.
Barry Rozner asked if Hendry was exploring a trade for Silva or if they were thinking about just releasing him. Hendry said he will never talk about a players future in the media before pointing out they have cut or released very few players.
Hendry said the goal is to try to break camp with the best 25 players.
The Cubs’ GM believes the Cubs can be a contending team. Hendry feels if the players stay healthy they will perform well. Hendry said if they can stay in the race they will be able to add on in July and go from there.
Jim Hendry feels the players have worked hard and Mike Quade has run a good camp. He acknowledged they have a lot to accomplish before the end of camp and would like for the team to finish strong going into the season.
Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.