Spring Training is nearing the halfway point; the Cubs open the 2012 season three weeks from Thursday against the Nationals at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs made a couple of Spring Training roster moves Tuesday when they assigned Esmailin Caridad and Casey Weathers to minor league camp. The front office also created a spot on the 40-man roster after Casey Weathers was outrighted Sunday to Triple-A Iowa.
Could the spot the Cubs opened up on the 40-man roster be filled by Blake DeWitt?
Here’s the update … Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago. Here are the highlights:
- Levine really likes Jeff Samardzija’s chances to make the starting rotation. Samardzija told Levine Tuesday morning that he could throw 80-90 pitches right now if he needed to.
- There have been a lot of teams interested in Marlon Byrd. The Cubs could receive a good, young prospect in return. But if the Cubs can hold onto Byrd for a little longer until the inevitable injuries pop up, they might receive a little more for him.
- According to Levine, the Cubs have to be careful not to start Brett Jackson’s Major League clock too soon.
- Dale Sveum said he will likely not make a decision on his starting rotation until the last week of Spring Training. In the meantime, all of the candidates are building up their innings.
- Levine thinks 81 wins and a third place finish in the NL Central would be a very good year for this team.
- The new regime has not given up on Josh Vitters but he needs to mature. Vitters was late to the first meeting between the managers, coaches and players and that was a red flag for the new management.
- At this point, the smart money is on Joe Mather making the team out of Spring Training. According to Levine, Tony Campana has minor league options left and Mather gives the team flexibility (all three outfield positions, first base and third base).
- Levine has been told both the PTBNL to the Red Sox and the compensation owed to the Padres for Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod will be nothing of significance, most likely Class-A players.
- The Cubs refuse to say whether or not they’ve made any progress in signing Matt Garza to a long-term deal.
News and Notes
The Cubs are not concerned about Carlos Marmol … and Dale Sveum threw out the Arizona-breaking ball excuse Tuesday. The Cubs are working on correcting a mechanical issue and want Marmol to focus on his fastball command.
Carlos Marmol looked upset following his outing against the Reds on Monday … nobody is going to fret too much about his mental approach, at least not now according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
Joe Mather looks right at home with the Cubs … and he is pushing Tony Campana for the fifth outfielder’s spot on the Opening Day roster.
Andy Sonnanstine was in the mix for a starting job when camp began and could still end up in the Cubs’ pen according to a report from the Sun-Times.
Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.
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