It’s Decision Time for the Cubs as Opening Day Nears

The Cubs extremely long stay in Arizona is just about over. The equipment truck leaves for Chicago on Wednesday and the team breaks camp after Thursday’s finale at HoHoKam Park … Opening Day is just around the corner.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs might not finalize their Opening Day roster until Sunday. The Cubs have two spots left to be filled, one on the bench and one in the bullpen. Steve Clevenger appears to be the leader in the clubhouse for the final spot on the bench. Dale Sveum has liked what he has seen from Clevenger at the plate and in the field this spring.

Dale Sveum told the media that Clevenger “has swung the bat better than anybody in camp.”

The Cubs are watching the waiver wire for players that could fill the role as well. And some feel that the Cubs will go another route and option Clevenger down to Triple-A Iowa in order to catch every day.

Reports prior to the weekend stated that the Cubs were looking to finalize the roster before the team broke camp on Thursday. But plans have apparently changed.

Hisanori Takahashi is seen as the favorite to land the last spot in the bullpen. The Cubs would have to add him to the 40-man roster, but the veteran lefty has not pitched his way out of job of late where Zach Putnam and Cory Wade, the other two relievers in camp fighting for the last spot, have.

So will the Cubs wait out the waiver wire and try to find another Shawn Camp or begin the season with Steve Clevenger and Hisanori Takahashi on the roster? It should be an interesting final five days of Spring Training.

Chris Young

Chris Young filed the paperwork to opt out of his minor league contract with the Nationals. The Nationals have 24 hours to add Young to their Major League roster, but reportedly they are going to let Young become a free agent. Young has been solid this spring and the Cubs were among several teams that had scouts at his start on Monday.

Ken Rosenthal reported that nine teams had scouts at Chris Young’s start on Monday night … the Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Indians, Mets, Cardinals, Red Sox, Brewers and Cubs. Rosenthal mentioned that the scouts in attendance were not necessarily focused on Young, and they could be there for other reasons.

Chris Young posted a 4-9 record in 20 starts for the Mets last season with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Young has a relationship with Jed Hoyer from their days together in San Diego.

Jose Dore and Minor League Moves

The Cubs made several moves down on the farm over the past week. A report surfaced out of San Diego on March 19 that the Cubs had acquired minor leaguer Jose Dore from the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. The Cubs confirmed the report on the transactions page.

The Padres selected Jose Dore in the eighth round of the 2010 draft and signed him to a $450,000 bonus. Dore turned 21 on February 9 and can play first base as well as left and right field. Dore played only nine games last season after playing a combined 98 games in 2011 at Low-A Eugene and High-A Fort Wayne.

Jose Dore’s Page on Baseball-Reference

The Cubs released two minor league pitchers according to Baseball America, RHP Ryan Hartman and RHP Su-Min Jung.

The Cubs’ selected the Mt. Zion High School product in the 16th round of the 2010 draft. Ryan Hartman posted a 1-1 record in 11 games last year in Rookie Ball with a 8.10 ERA and a 2.34 WHIP (13 strikeouts, nine walks and 30 hits allowed in 16 2/3 innings)

Ryan Hartman’s Page on Baseball-Reference

The Cubs signed Su-Min Jong in 2008 for $510,000. The Korean right-hander was once considered one of the top prospects in the system (Baseball America ranked No. 30 prior to the 2009 season). The soon-to-be 23-year old (April 1) posted a combined 1-1 record in 17 games, two starts, in Rookie ball and with the Boise Hawks last year (3.14 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP).

Su-Min Jung’s Page on Baseball-Reference

June Draft

With Kyle Lohse signing with the Brewers on Monday, the draft order is now set. The Cubs pick second in June’s draft (June 6 – June 8) behind the Astros then again at No. 41 and have three picks in the first 75.

Cubs’ first three selections in the 2013 draft:

  • First Round – 2
  • Second Round – 41
  • Third Round – 75

The A’s have the last selection (106) in the comp round. The Cubs fourth round selection would be No. 108.

Full 2013 MLB Draft Order

News Bits

Scott Baker met with the media on Monday and called his setback a speed bump. Baker said he felt great during all of his throwing sessions leading up to his first Cactus League start on March 17. The Cubs have not put a timetable on when Baker could join the Cubs’ rotation. Baker has been shut down for a month and will be re-evaluated at that point to determine the next step in his rehab. Baker said he is not a five-percenter.

Dale Sveum is happy with the way things have played out this spring. Theo Epstein is also happy with several of the young players that have not received as much publicity as Javier Baez and Jorge Soler. Epstein thinks Dan Vogelbach is going to have a big year and likes the deep group of infielders in the system such as Jeimer Candelario, Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez and Carlos Penalver. Epstein added that pitchers Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn are off to good starts this spring.

The Cubs have to be smarter on the basepaths this season according to Dale Sveum.

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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