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!!!”

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James
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  • Ripsnorter1

    Brenly said last year…”you are really, really going to enjoy watching the Cubs’ new 3B, Ian Stewart, after watching what you had at 3B the last several years.”

    LOL

    Chone Figgins has been DFA’d. Why not? He hit .188 and .181 the last two years. But in 2009 has a .395 OBP and lead the AL league in BBs with 101. He’s 35.

    And don’t let it escape your notice that Theo’s trade piece was DFA’d as well. Mr. David Carpenter was jettisoned by the BoSox.

    • Tony_Hall

      Maybe we will get to see a healthy Stewart this year and understand what Brenly was talking about…hopefully.

      Figgins has had a negative WAR the last 2 years, that’s why not. He’s done…been done.

      I am assuming you mean Chris Carpenter…if so, I hadn’t heard that one.

      • jiba11

        Wrong Carpenter. David Carpenter was DFA’d by Boston. He was acquired along with Farrell for Aviles. Chris is still on Boston’s 40 man roster.

        • Tony_Hall

          That might explain why I hadn’t heard that one.

  • Ripsnorter1

    With the Cubs’ 40 man roster full, it means that the Cubs cannot pick up a player in the Rule V draft, eh?

    • Tony_Hall

      Right now yes, but if they want to make a pick, they will be creating a spot at some point before the draft.

      • Aaron

        Tony, you’re right. They can still DFA players, but just can’t add anyone that is Rule 5 eligible.

        They can also trade players that are Rule 5 eligible, but they will usually be listed as PTBNL, and if they’re selected, the teams will have another list of players they can choose from.

        I would think that Coleman, Concepcion, Putnam, and Stewart are the most vulnerable, with Raley and Rusin coming in close behind.

        They need 1 more veteran starter, at least 2 veteran relievers, and possibly 1 veteran IF/OF.

        This is what we are looking at right now:
        Garza
        Samardzija
        Baker
        T. Wood
        Vizcaino (only partial season though, as he will have IP limits)

        Marmol
        Russell
        Camp
        Beliveau
        Bowden
        Chapman
        Dolis (Cabrera in mix if he’s not in rotation in Iowa)

        C-Castillo, Navarro
        1B-Rizzo
        2B-Barney
        SS-Castro
        3B-Valbuena and Stewart (though, not expected to be with team later)
        LF-Soriano
        CF-Sappelt, Campana
        RF-DeJesus

        Given their insistence that position players have at least 500 AB’s at the AAA level, I think we can rule out guys like Lake, Vitters, BJax, and Watkins breaking camp with the team.

        That means that my prediction they will go after at least 1 OF/IF in FA would probably be true. They could opt to save roster space by only signing 1 reliever, and using the other spot for IF/OF, making it 2 spots for that in FA. It’s also debatable whether or not they will go after another FA starter, or just open up the season with what they have. After all, they still have options like Rusin, Raley, Cabrera, etc. for the rotation in addition to Vizcaino, even if they are underwhelming options.

        Guys like Keppinger, Scuturo, McGehee, Bay, Figgins, Eric Chavez, McLouth, Sizemore, and Victorino all might be of interest to them, and if they can unload Soriano, then Delmon Young and Swisher might be of interest.

        • Tony_Hall

          So much of this sounds familiar….

          • Aaron

            what do you mean by that?

          • Tony_Hall

            Do you see my post from 6 hours before yours…

          • Aaron

            LOL….no, I didn’t, but now it makes complete sense. Great minds think alike, right? :)

  • Tony_Hall

    There are more moves to come, as you can only send 15 players from your 40 man roster to the minors. Right now we have 17 players who you would expect or we have been told, will start the year in the minors. Plus we know they are still looking for a SP, starting RF/CF, and need another utitlity infielder, plus likely to take a power arm in the Rule V draft.

    Here is the 23 in line to make the 25 man roster

    OF – Soriano, DeJesus, Sappelt, Campana

    IF – Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Stewart, Valbuena

    C – Castillo, Navarro

    SP – Garza, Samardzija, Baker, Wood

    RP – Marmol, Russell, Camp, Bowden, Champman, Dolis, Putnam, Beliveau

    The bullpen has 8, so one will go to the minors as well, making only 22 on the 25 man roster, plus the 3 holes for a SP, utility IF, and RF/CF starter.

    And the guys heading to the minors.

    Hitters (8)
    BJAX, Soler, Szczur, Lake, Vitters, Villanueva, Watkins, Clevenger

    Pitchers (9)
    Cabrera, Castillo, Coleman, Concepcion, Raley, Rusin, Vizcaino, McNutt, Whitenack

    All of this makes me wonder who else is going, to create the roster space? It would take 4 guys going to take a Rule V draft. Now they would only need to create 1 spot to be able to take one player, and the other spots only need to happen, when they sign the guys to fill the open roster spots.

    Of course they have pitchers in that list, that they could try to clear through waivers in Coleman, Concepcion, Raley, Rusin and hope they don’t all get taken. I don’t see them doing this with any of the hitters. Those could be the 4 spots for now.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Baseball America: Cubs ink four to minors deals: RF Johermyn Chavez, SS Alberto Gonzalez, RF Brian Bogusevic & C J.C. Boscan

    Boscan signed a while back