Only Two Spots Up for Grabs on the Cubs Opening Day Roster

With the fifth round of spring roster cuts in the rearview mirror, the Cubs have a couple of decisions to make over the next eight days. While the spring roster officially stands at 35 players, the Cubs really have only a handful of players to make a decision on.

Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Ian Stewart and Arodys Vizcaino will start the year on the DL. Brett Jackson is ticketed for Iowa once he is ready to play again and J.C. Boscan figures to begin the year as a backstop in Iowa. Unless the Cubs add a player or two via the waiver wire that leaves 29 players in camp … and only two spots available on the Opening Day roster.

Cubs Opening Day Roster

The Cubs have a full 40-man roster and will have to create at least one spot in order to add Brent Lillibridge. When the Cubs place Arodys Vizcaino on the 60-day DL, a spot will be opened for Lillibridge. Depending on what Dr. Gryzlo discovers when he examines Scott Baker’s right elbow on Saturday, Scott Baker could be placed on the 60-day DL to open a spot for one of the relievers still in camp on non-roster invitations. Hisanori Takahashi, Cory Wade and Zach Putnam are in the mix for the last spot in the pen, along with Rafael Dolis. Dolis is on the 40-man and can be optioned down. The safe bet is on Takahashi beginning the season as the Cubs’ longman and second lefty out of the pen.

Steve Clevenger is still a possibility to leave Arizona on the active roster. The Cubs are reportedly watching the waiver wire for a back-up infielder, but right now, the final bench spot is between Clevenger and Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez is in camp on a non-roster invite, and it would take another roster move. Ian Stewart is a likely candidate to begin the season on the 60-day DL to open a spot for a player like Gonzalez … or a waiver claim. The Cubs have scouts in Arizona and Florida watching players that could end up on the waiver wire.

Matt Garza is progressing and is shooting to be throwing off a mound in the next week. If Garza is that close, it is doubtful that the Cubs would place him on the 60-day DL, even with the fact they could backdate it.

So as the roster is currently constructed, here is a list of the 23 players that will be introduced on Opening Day in Pittsburgh:

Pitchers

  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Edwin Jackson
  • Travis Wood
  • Scott Feldman
  • Carlos Villanueva
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Kyuji Fujikawa
  • Shawn Camp
  • James Russell
  • Michael Bowden
  • Hector Rondon

Catchers

  • Welington Castillo
  • Dioner Navarro

Infielders

  • Anthony Rizzo
  • Darwin Barney
  • Starlin Castro
  • Luis Valbuena
  • Brent Lillibridge

Outfielders

  • Alfonso Soriano
  • David DeJesus
  • Nate Schierholtz
  • Scott Hariston
  • Dave Sappelt

Jon Garland

Could the former Southsider and Padre be in a Cubs’ uniform in the near future? The Mariners informed Jon Garland on Friday that he would not make the Mariners’ rotation out of camp. Garland exercised his opt-out clause and left camp. The Cubs have already been connected to Garland by the mainstream media.

Garland put together a good spring, and actually had his worst start against the Cubs on Thursday night. In four starts this spring, Garland allowed three runs on 10 hits with five walks and four strikeouts in 12 innings (2.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP). The Cubs selected Garland with their first round pick in the 1997 draft.

Jed Hoyer and Jon Garland also have a relationship from the year (2010) they spent together in San Diego in which Garland posted a 14-12 record in 33 starts with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.

According to Ken Rosenthal, Garland does not have a new deal lined up, but teams are interested in signing him.

News Bits

Carlos Villanueva was not happy about walking Rickie Weeks on Friday. The Cubs’ staff must cut down on the walks this season, but they entered play on Friday tied for second in all of baseball in walks allowed this spring (91).

For those wondering about Chone Figgins, the Cubs have not called Figgins … and according to ESPN Chicago, they may not reach out to Figgins.

According to the Tribune with the way the roster is currently constructed, Luis Valbuena and Brent Lillibridge will backup Starlin Castro at shortstop. Dale Sveum said Friday that Darwin Barney is the team’s full-time second baseman.

Brent Jackson is still being limited with the right shoulder injury. Jackson was supposed to be sidelined for a week. The Cubs have not mentioned when he will return.

According to Carrie Muskat, Casey Coleman will continue to pitch in relief. Coleman’s days as a starter appear to be over … at least for now.

Chris Rusin gets the start on Sunday against the Indians in Goodyear.

Aramis Ramirez told Gordon Wittenmyer the Cubs are paying the price for rebuilding.

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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