Cubs Make Changes to 40-man Roster … and Other News, Notes and Rumors

The Cubs made seven changes to their 40-man roster on Tuesday night and added a big arm to the minor league system. The Cubs announced that Bryan LaHair was DFA’d, right-handed pitcher Carlos Gutierrez was assigned to Triple-A Iowa and right-handed pitcher Jacob Brigham was traded back to the Texas Rangers. After creating three spots on the big league roster, the Cubs selected the contracts of infielders Christian Villanueva and Logan Watkins as well as right handers Trey McNutt and Robert Whitenack. All four players were added to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 40 players.

Bryan LaHair was designated for assignment Tuesday night to create space on the Cubs’ 40-man roster. It is not too often a player is DFA’d following a season in which he made the All-Star team. LaHair did not figure into the Cubs’ plans moving forward and they are helping LaHair pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.

The Cubs are far from done making moves this off-season. The Cubs are looking to add at least one more starting pitcher, help in the pen and an outfielder. The Cubs also must decide Ian Stewart’s future with the team. The Cubs have until November 30 to tender a contract to Ian Stewart and the other four arbitration eligible players … Matt Garza, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija and Luis Valbuena.

The All-Star … Anthony Rizzo
Minor League Baseball and the Topps Company announced the Topps Triple-A All-Star Team on Monday and the squad included the Cubs’ current first baseman.

Anthony Rizzo was named to the team after a putting up excellent numbers prior to his call-up in late June. In 70 games and 284 plate appearances for the Iowa Cubs, Rizzo put together a .342/.405/.696/1.101 line with 18 doubles, two triples and 23 home runs. Rizzo kept hitting after his promotion and was solid in the field as well. Rizzo played in 87 games for the Cubs and finished his year with a .285/.342/.463/.805 slash line at the big league level with 15 doubles and 15 home runs. Rizzo hit a combined 33 doubles and 38 home runs in 157 games.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago. Here are the highlights:

  • Levine clarified that he never predicted a trade of Cubs’ prospects. The Cubs only had some interest in Lonnie Chisenhall for a while. Levine’s sources told him Monday “the Cubs are not intent on trading their young players at this particular point or time.”
  • With Dioner Navarro on the roster, Levine thinks other teams will ask about Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger “between now and the end of the winter meetings.”
  • Levine has not heard any additional information about the Cubs’ interest in Francisco Liriano. Levine has not been able to confirm that there was a two-year deal from the Cubs on the table for Liriano.
  • Unless the Cubs feel they are getting a valuable piece back, they will not trade Carlos Marmol.
  • It is doubtful that the Cubs will try to sign Dan Haren to a one-year contract. According to Levine, the Cubs’ doctors did not like what they saw before.

Barret Loux and Jacob Brigham
The Cubs acquired Barret Loux from the Rangers, along with a player to be named later, for Jacob Brigham on Tuesday. The Cubs acquired Brigham, along with a PTBNL, for Geovany Soto at the trade deadline. But after two starts for the Smokies, Brigham was shut down and placed on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. Brigham did not require surgery but the two teams reworked the deal with the Cubs ending up with the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft. According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs and Rangers had a verbal agreement to revisit the original trade if Jacob Brigham was injured.

The trade also helped create a valuable spot on the 40-man roster as Barret Loux did not have to be added to the Major League roster.

Brooks Raley is looking forward to playing with Barret Loux again.

News and Notes
The Royals designated Chris Volstad for assignment on Tuesday.

Felix Pie signed a minor league contract with the Pirates that includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs do not appear close to announcing Bob Brenly’s replacement. WGN-TV reportedly interviewed Jim Deshaies for the opening but would not comment on the reports.

RHP Frankie De La Cruz inked a minor league contract with Brewers.

Complete list of DFA’d players from around the league. Teams have 10 days 10 days to trade, release, or outright the player to the minors if they clear outright waivers. Players who have been removed from the 40-man roster previously during their career have the option of declining an outright assignment to the minors and becoming a free agent.

And the quote of the day is from Matt Garza, via his Twitter account. Garza tweeted late Tuesday night, “No more twinkies!! How can we not have anymore twinkies!!!”

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax