A Busy Day for the Chicago Cubs?

According to multiple reports, the Cubs brass met following Wednesday’s game against the Indians to figure out the final three to four spots on the Opening Day Roster. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Randy Bush, Dale Sveum and the coaching staff were expected to decide the Opening Day rotation as well as if Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger will begin the season as the back-up to Geovany Soto.

The decisions on the final two to three spots in the pen could take a few more days. Depending on the report, the Cubs have as many as three spots still available with Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo, Casey Coleman, Frankie De La Cruz, Manny Corpas, Rodrigo Lopez, Scott Maine and Randy Wells still in the mix.

The Cubs are expected to announce several spring roster cuts Thursday morning … and if Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather take two spots on the Cubs’ bench, at least one move will have to be made on the 40-man roster to create a spot. The Cubs’ big league roster currently sits at 39 players.

Manny Corpas
After a rough start to the spring, Manny Corpas may actually make the team. Corpas was signed to a split contract in December and added to the 40-man roster. Corpas was removed from the 40-man roster in late January (to make room for Kerry Wood), cleared waivers and received a non-roster invite to big league camp.

Corpas was horrible over the first couple of weeks of camp but has pitched better of late. Corpas caught the attention of Dale Sveum … and the Cubs’ skipper pointed out Corpas has pitched just as good as anyone else in camp over his last three appearances.

Backin’ Up Soto
Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger? Steve Clevenger or Welington Castillo? And it depends on the report on which one as the edge over the other. Both catchers have had good camps and one thing for is for sure, for the first time in many years the Cubs will not have a veteran catcher as their back-up.

The fact Steve Clevenger hits from the left-side could give him an advantage, plus Welington Castillo needs to play every day in order to work on his defense and game calling. Oneri Fleita has always been high on Welington Castillo and what he could, one day, bring to the table.

News, Notes and Rumors
According to a report from Bruce Levine, a few clubs, including the Atlanta Braves, have watched Marlon Byrd all spring and have approached the Cubs about a deal.

Randy Wells’ scheduled appearance for Wednesday was scrapped by the staff according to the Sun-Times. Wells is still scheduled to start Sunday’s game against the Angels in Tempe and Dale Sveum would like to stretch him out as far as possible.

Several teams have contacted the Cubs to see if Randy Wells is available.

Could Alfredo Amezaga make the team? According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Amezaga isn’t completely out of consideration because the switch-hitter can play shortstop. The Cubs do not have a back-up infielder that can play shortstop and if Blake DeWitt makes the Opening Day roster, as expected, the Cubs back-up shortstop would be Darwin Barney.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, if the Cubs make any trades they would be looking to acquire a lefty for the bullpen.

Chris Carpenter will undergo surgery on his right elbow to remove bone spurs Thursday. Carpenter made the announcement on his Twitter account. Ben Cherington confirmed the surgery with the Boston media and would not comment if Carpenter’s injury pre-dated the February 21 trade with the Cubs.

Will there be any surprises on Thursday?

Stay Tuned …

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Quote of the Day

"Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us." - Earl Nightingale
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  • Aaron

    If the Cubs are looking for a lefty on a buy-low sort of situation, they could inquire on a guy I used to play ball with…Mike Zagurski, who is rumored to be on the bubble for the D’Backs

  • Tony_Hall

    My picks 

     – Clevenger over Castillo

     – Amezaga (or even Cardenas) over Dewitt…please

     – Samardzija to the rotation

     – Wells to the bullpen

     – Castillo to the bullpen (baring a minor trade to allow him to be moved to the minors)

     – Corpas to the bullpen

     – Mateo to the DL

    Add Corpas, Mather and Amezaga to the 40 man, need 2 spots, De La Cruz is out of options, and will have to removed to send to the minors anyway.  The other spot, I expect a trade to happen, otherwise I would take Cardenas over Amezaga.

    Bullpen
    Marmol
    Wood
    Dolis
    Russell
    Corpas
    Castillo
    Wells

    I think Corpas just had to show he was healthy and have a good finish to ST, which he did, to make the team.  If he hadn’t finished strong, he was in Iowa.  Maine is the odd man out right now, as they don’t seem as concerned about how many lefties, and his stats look better than he pitched.

    Bench

    Amezaga, Baker, Mather, R Johnson, Clevenger

    • Ripsnorter1

      Okay. My turn….. : )

      -Clevinger over Castillo simply because Castillo needs the work to be the everyday C next year, and Clevinger was never considered to be more than a backup anyway.

      -Samardzija and Wells to the rotation. Volstad to the bullpen. This will happen soon or later in 2012. You watch….

      -DeWitt makes the team. At least he can hit .250. Barney becomes the backup INF.

      -Cardenas cannot run–we’re talking about a player with the speed of a Mark Grace, folks–has no power, might hit .250, but Cardenas is really a middle infielder in a corner INF body. So if you want a poor runner, a poor fielder with no power, by all means, put him on the team. I see no need for it.

      -Amezaga: he’s 34 years old. He hit .182 in 2011. He did not make any ML team in 2010 (He was LAD property). He hit .217 in 2009. He was mainly a CF in his day. Has never played more than 32 games at SS. Has some 2B experience, but then, so does Alfonso Soriano….His speed is gone. He never had any power. You are looking at KOYIE HILL without what little power Koyie had. NO. NO..NO.NO.NO.NO!

      -Mather makes the team. Brings the roster to 40.

      -Send De La Cruz down. Why did they spend the money to get this guy in the first place? Drop him from the 40 man. Brings the roster to 39 again.

      -DL Mateo. And I’d drop him from the 40 man ASAP.

      -Add Corpas. 

      -Castillo makes the team for sure.

      -Bullpen:Marmol
      Wood (to DL if necessary; call up Maine)
      Russell
      Corpas
      Volstad
      Castillo
      Dolis

      Rotation
      Dumpster
      Garza
      Samardzija
      Wells
      Maholm

      Starters:C Soto 
      1B LaHair 
      2B DeWitt
      SS Castro
      3B Stewart/Baker platoon
      LF Soriano
      CF Byrd
      RF DeJesus

      Reserves:Mather
      Baker
      Barney
      Clevinger
      Reed Johnson

      I

      • Tony_Hall

        Not much different than me, except you somehow think Dewitt not only makes the team, but becomes the starter at 2B…ZERO chance that happens.  I just want Dewitt to be a distant memory.  I want another player who can play SS, something Dewitt can not.  I see Barney as the Utility guy soon enough, but not because of Dewitt, that’s for sure.

        I will be extremely shocked if Wells makes the rotation, but then again, you need him to, to give your 15 win prediction from last year another chance.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Better re-read my post again, Tony. I was just commenting on WHAT I WOULD DO. I was not forecasting what team Theo would do.

          • Tony_Hall

            OK – I still don’t see that, but Blake Dewitt as your starting 2B…WOW is all I can say.

          • Ripsnorter1

            DeWitt and Barney:
            Both age 26.

            Who has more power? DeWitt

            Gloves? Both are less than stellar. I call it about equal.

            Speed? Barney, but he barely runs, so it makes very little difference. 9 SB for Barney, DeWitt in more fulltime rolls, averages about 3. Not a great difference.

            Batting Average? About the same. Take away Barney’s April.May, and he and DeWitt hit about the same: .255.

            I want the 10 or maybe even 15 HRs (if he has the career year). Barney gives you no power. Very few SB. Can’t turn the double play (he had half the double plays of Neil Walker!).

             What’s so special about Barney? What does he bring to the table so vastly superior to DeWitt. They are about equal, except for the SB/power split.

          • Mssweeney2003

            Dewitt is a brutal fielder at second. Doesnt handle the pivot well at all. He is a 3rd baseman without enough power to play there full time.

          • Baron_S

            Dewitt over Barney??

            Had a few mimosas for breakfast Mr Rip?

            Barney has had barely 2 seasons in the bigs and has looked very clutch at times… WAYYY more exciting than Dewitt who is a complete bum

          • Anthony
    • Redlarczykg

      You have to have 2 lefties in the Bullpen.  Maine makes the team.

      • cubtex

        I agree.

      • Tony_Hall

        I guess you don’t.  Sveum said he wanted the best bullpen pitchers, not necessarily so many left and so many right.

    • cubtex

      Where is the left handed hitter off the bench? Clevenger? You cannot use a catcher unless he is put in the game since they are only carrying 2 catchers. Also……why won’t Scott Maine make the team? Do you think they will only carry Russell as the only lefty?

      • Tom U

        Clevenger is a multi-position player who can line up at first, second or third in a pinch as well as catcher. If used as a pinch-hitter, he can be at one of those positions for an inning or two.

        • cubtex

          yes you are right but you want to be careful not to do that too much. If he gets hurt playing another position that would not be smart if you only are carrying 2 catchers.

      • Tony_Hall

        Tom U answered it.  But you don’t really don’t have to worry about it getting hurt playing, as you have Castillo as well.  Plus, players get hurt playing (and not playing) it’s just part of the game, that is where depth is needed.

  • cubtex

    I hope a trade is made before the start of the season to add a bench piece. Did you notice the bench that some on here mentioned? I say DeWitt is absolutely on the team since there are no other lefthanded hitting options(other than Cardenas and they already sent him down)

    Mather
    R Johnson(they should have picked up a lefthanded hitting outfielder for this spot) With Mather…..you have almost the same type of player.
    J Baker-
    B DeWitt
    S Clevenger

    What a terrible bench……maybe they can pick up an outfielder who is out of options and will DFA’d if they clear waivers. I like Reed Johnson but having both Mather and Reed on the team makes no sense.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Extra Bases: Carpenter’s elbow issues nobody’s fault? – http://bo.st/H3o4og
     

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Will post when all cuts are announced … But here are the first three

    Randy Wells has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa
    Welington Castillo has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa

    Steve Clevenger will begin the season as Soto’s backup

    • Craig Y

      Wells to Iowa?! I think he deserved a rotation spot over Volstad, but worse case should have been in the pen. With Wells going to Iowa, Lopez better not get a spot…..

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Blake Lalli, Blake Parker and Matt Tolbert have been reassigned to minor league camp. Travis Wood and Travis Wood have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Scott Maine has also been optioned to Triple-A Iowa

    • cubtex

      Jeff Russell as the only lefty :)

      • cubtex

        I meant James :)

    • Redlarczykg

      Theo/Hoyer must have a lefty coming in some deal.  No way these brilliant baseball minds would start the season with one lefty in the pen!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Don’t overestimate how bad Team Theo is.

      • cubtex

        I hope so. I don’t know why they are not giving Maine a shot. He only gave up 1 run this spring in 7.1 IP.

        Last year in AAA

        51.1 IP  ONLY 38 hits  and 72 K’s with 25 Walks.

        Let’s give this kid a chance to see if he is a mlb pitcher!

        • Ripsnorter1

          It’s just dumb.

        • Tony_Hall

          They will.  He will pitch for the Cubs this year.

      • Tony_Hall

        They wanted the best bullpen pitchers, and don’t feel you have to have a certain number of lefties.  I can see their point, but I would prefer 2 lefties as well.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Casey Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Alfredo Amezaga has been reassigned to minor league camp

    Again, I will post once all of the moves are announced.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Edgar Gonzalez was reassigned/sent down not Amezaga.

    Samardzija made the rotation.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Wells to Iowa. 

    They are trying to teach him to sober up. 

    Maybe he’ll learn now.

  • Cloycub13

    Shocking moves so far, we asked for a shake up, we are getting it!

  • Ripsnorter1

    This means Shawn Camp made the team.

    This means Chi Chi Lopez made the team.

    YOUTH MOVEMENT!

    REBUILDING MOVEMENT!

    EXCITEMENT!

    Junk. Worse than Hendry.

  • Ripsnorter1

    WHAT A YOUTH MOVEMENT!

    Amazago….age 34
    Camp…..age 37
    Chi Chi Lopez….age 38
    Johnson….age 36
    Not to mention Corpas, Byrd, Soriano, DeJesus, and Dumpster.

    Man, we are talking the FUTURE OF YOUR CHICAGO CUBS.

    • BrutalTruth

      who said there was going to be a youth movement?  or did you just assume that?

      • Scott

        There are a certain few posters on here that assume way too much and do not have the patience to do what needs to be done with this organization.  I’m not going to name names, but to anyone who frequently reads on here, it is obvious who they are.

        • Redlarczykg

          Doesn’t waiting over 104 years make you somewhat patient?  Adding old rejects from other teams is not building a toward the future. Any way, I don’t have long to live so why be patient now? 

          • Scott

            Making the new management team pay for the ineptitude of the past 104 years shows a lack of intelligent.

            With a system void of a lot of major league ready talent, you need to fill in gaps with FA’s and trades.  And Epstein and Co. did that without mortgaging the future by hamstringing the organization with more long term, big dollar contracts.

            The old “rejects” are not building towards the Cubs future directly, but are replacable placeholders for when our minor league players or future trade acquisitions are ready.

            Epstein and Hoyer are trying to build the organization from the ground up because everything was a disaster.  The front office was the smallest in baseball.  The major league roster was filled with players who were either old, spoiled and/or overpaid.  The minor league system was void of any impact talent for the major leagues (save for Jackson and MAYBE some players in the lower levels IF they developed).

            This could not be fixed in six months.  It will take time.  Possibly even years, to build the Cubs into a consistent winner with a strong farm system.

            And I have not waited 104 years.  That’s just how long the drought has been.  If you are 104 years old, I commend you for your use of this new fangled technology known as a computer.  :)

            Why be patient?  Because if this organization is taken care of the right way (and it might be heading in the right direction for the first time in decades) the rewards could be immense for Cubs fans.

            I just think that it is completely unfair and ridiculous for Epstein and Co. to pay for the “crimes” of the past and to expect them to just walk in and “fix” everything with the snap of their fingers.  People want them run out of town and they have not been in charge for a SINGLE pitch yet!  Amazing.

          • Redlarczykg

            Making the new management team pay for the ineptitude of the past 104 years shows a lack of intelligent.

            I believe you ment intelligence.
             

          • Redlarczykg

            Patience!  Patience!  Cub Fans don’t need any stinkin’ Patience!

            By the way, I have a BS degree from Purdue (mostly BS) in IT.  I design IT processes all day – 300 uses.

            Scott lighten up. Just having fun expressing the frustration all Cub Fans have experienced

          • Ripsnorter1

            Scott,
            Not everybody on this site is 16 years old. Many of us have been Cubs’ fans for 40-50 years. 

            And do you know what? 
            We’ve heard the Team Theo song before. We’ve heard that tune sung by a different singer, but the words were the same. 

            Yup. Sounds incredible to some young whipper-snappers like you, but we’ve heard all the “rebuilding” talk before–the “it’ll take 3 or 4 more years for the young prospects to come up and take us to the promised land” and “wait until our young pitchers mature” and “wait until Brooks Kieschnick/ Corey Patterson/ Felix Pie/ Brett Jackson, et al arrive.” 

            “Meanwhile,” they sing, “be happy to watch these 37 yr. old rejects from other teams man the roster.” They also sing, “Buy your tickets (the 3rd highest in MLB) right here.”

            So we’ve heard that song before. We’ve seen all kinds of rebuilding movements, college of coaches, super -intelligent front office people that turned out to be dumber than a box of rocks. Yup. Been there. Done that. 

            I’m tired of that song.

          • Scott

            I’ve almost been at my job current job for 16 years.  Not all of us that have been Cubs fans for so long have become jaded to the point where we have lost hope.

            I’ve been around long enough to see the “can’t miss” guys all fail.  But there is a difference between what the Cubs have done say, in the last 30 years, and what Epstein did in the last 9.  Epstein produced World Championships AND quality through the draft.

            You may have heard the “same song” before, but why judge them before they have even had a chance to produce?

            And if you are tired of rebuilding, tired of trying to buy players to win the World Series, tired of doing things the right way and tired of doing things the wrong way, what do you suggest happen?

            What would make you happy?  And not “Winning the World Series”.  What STEPS would you like to see happen, or what plan implemented, that would get us to that point?

            I’ve seen a lot of negative people on here, but they never offer an opinion as to what they think SHOULD happen.  They only disagree with what IS happening and throw everyone under the bus.

            THAT’s the song I am tired of.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Scott,
            I offered a solution several times, and again when Theo took over: you field a competitive team and rebuild at the same time. How do we have a competitive team?
            The secret of winning is scoring a lot of runs. A winning team will be near the top in the league in runs scored. This happens, not by the stolen base, but by signing or trading for some POWER bats. No, I did not want or suggest Fielder or Pujols. I do not want the high dollar FAs to Soriano style contracts. Never! 

            Move Castro to 3B. Acquire a fielding SS that can hit .250 or better. Castro does not field well. Get a 2B with some power. Uggla was available last year and JHendry didn’t go for it. 
            Get a RF with power. We need at least 22 HRs from RF. 

            Soto is okay for 2012.Soriano is okay 2012.
            Byrd is okay for 2012–until Brett Jackson arrives. 

            Pitching:I would have signed McCarthy.Maholm is okay. Bullpen: if you dealt Marshall, he should have netted one of the bats needed above. The Reds gave up Yonder Alonzo. 

            With some offense, it is not unreasonable to expect the following results (with injury):
            Dempster…. 11 wins
            Garza……….14 wins
            McCarthy…..12 wins
            Mahom……..10 wins
            Samardzija….9 wins
            Spot starter Wells….5 wins

            Bullpen should pick up 22-30 wins for a team each year. You are looking at 83-90 wins. And that’s competitive enough to keep the Cubs close to a playoff berth, and still not break the bank for signing prospects.

          • Scott

            I know that this will be a HUGE point of contention, but I believe that run PREVENTION is the key to winning.  Sure, you can try to outslug everyone, but if you can pitch and play defense, that is the better option.  Just my opinion.

            Do I think it would be great to have more power?  I do.  However, I don’t understand some of your ideas.  First, you can’t blame Epstein for something you think Hendry should have done.  Period. 

            Castro may end up at third someday, but he should be given the chance to improve at the postion.  Castro made 29 errors last year with a FP of 0.961.  Jeter made 29 errors when he was 21 (in AAA – 31 overall) with a FP of 0.953.  Jeter has 5 Gold Gloves now – at SS.  Granted, those don’t always go to the best fielder, but still, you see my point.

            Plus, Castro at SS and Stewart at 3B will have more power than some light hitting SS and moving Castro to 3B.

            How do you suggest acquiring pieces without trading or spending money long term?  And what would you have traded?  Some people seem to think that we should be able to trade junk for top quality.

            There are 11 guys who had 22 HR from RF last year and only two of them (that I could tell from a quick look) were FA.  And neither one is one I would want manning RF – Beltran and Berkman.

            Do I think that we have a team that will compete for the division in 2012?  Very doubtful.  Do I think that we will have a team that will compete to the best of their ability every single day (something that could NOT be said the last few years)?  Yes.  I think that the roster is being constructed with players that play the game the right way.  Maybe they don’t have the upper echelon talent that everyone wants, but this is a process.

            I like the moves that have been made because they are low risk, short term deals that will allow us to have roster flexibility moving forward and will not hamstring us like having Soriano has.

            I don’t see the Cubs ever getting Alonzo for Marshall.  Latos is a young, very high end starter and Marshall was  a good lefty reliever.  Plus, Alonzo was traded to the Padres 6 days before Marshall was traded to the Cubs…..