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.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself." - Eleanor Roosevelt
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  • Ripsnorter1

    Dave Sappelt hit .182 this Spring. He made the team.

    Bogusevic hit .410 and did not make it. He’s got to think that no matter what he does he can’t make it.

    But I do not want either of them on my team.

    • J Daniel

      Agreed, Again!

    • Tony_Hall

      Maybe it was his 203 average last year, that he needs to think about or his 297 OBP or his 299 SLG.

      Don’t put to much emphasis on ST, small sample size stats. We would have to create another roster spot on the 25 man roster, to add a 29 year old weak hitting OF. Sappelt was the obvious choice as he hits LH well. RH’s not so much.

    • Tony_Hall

      Sappelt against LH’s

      345/410/545 in the majors

      Limited sample size, but without players who can start against both LH’s and RH’s, using platoons to maximize production is the best bet.

      Sappelt/DeJesus = better than either one on their own.

      Hairston/Schierholtz = better than either one on their own

      Limit the AB’s for all 4 of these guys against their weakness and the production will go up.

      • Ray Ray

        Wow Tony! You actually made some great points there. I agree 100% on limiting DeJesus at bats against lhp and platoon those 4 all year.

        • Tony_Hall

          Not sure how I am suppose to take that….I think I make great points from time to time….

          It’s not exactly rocket science to limit exposure to players weaknesses and to put them in a position to succeed will produce better results.

      • WidespreadHisPanic

        I concur

      • Ray Ray

        There is also a rumor that the Royals might be interested in acquiring DeJesus to platoon with Francourer. Trade him!

        • Tony_Hall

          Absolutely! DeJesus should be traded this year, as BJAX will be up soon enough to take over his spot.

        • Shawon O’Meter

          This really wasn’t a rumor. Rather it was an idea floated by Rany Jayzerrelli a well followed Royals blogger. It wa purely an idea he was supporting.

    • Ray Ray

      If Bogusevic was right handed he makes the team. It’s just the way the 25 man roster played out this year.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Garland is better than Scott Feldman, a clone for Chris Volstad.

    • J Daniel

      Agreed!

  • Tony_Hall

    So after a long spring training the 13 position players has the same 11 players we all expected, Lillibridge is the 12th guy and that wasn’t for sure before spring training but shortly into it and the 13th player spot, opened up with Stewart still unable to play is still up for grabs. I believe they will look over every infielder out there, preferably a left-handed hitter to fill the 13th spot.

    The pitching staff was always pretty much set, it was just dependent on who needed the DL to start the year. With Garza, Baker and Vizcaino all on the DL, it opens up a spot to keep Rondon and most likely Takahashi to start the year. The competition to stay in the rotation and the bullpen will be interesting as Garza and then Baker get ready to start.

  • Brp921

    Signing Garland would be a great move. We would have a lot of options at the trade deadline.

    • Ray Ray

      Agreed. Scott Kazmir looks decent this spring as well as Jonathon Sanchez. Any one of those 3 were worrh a minor league invite.

  • Dorasaga

    “They’ve pooped on fans’ feelings for years. It went down the toilet when they sold off all the players.” –Jan Leon, a Marlins season-ticket holder sued by the ballclub.

    All baseball fans need to read this; the Marlins have been ridiculous for too long. They’ve been an insult to baseball. They’ve been manipulative ass. They’ve been worse than poops! They’ve been leechers who exploited revenue sharing, exploited fans of other teams, including us Cubs fans, who paid hard-earned money to enjoy real baseball. They made politicians and rooftop owners look like saints, with glowing rings on top of heads:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/miami-marlins-new-revenue-stream-suing-fans/

    • SuzyS

      Thanks for the link, Dorasaga. Good write-up.

  • 07GreyDigger

    Love the link and the useless quotes from Ramirez. When Hendry tried to flip Ramirez for younger players, he wouldn’t go. “They aren’t trying to get good players.” Sounds like sour grapes because they wouldn’t resign him. I’m not a fan of Valbuena, but I don’t think he’d lose a ball in the sun like Ramirez and have it bounce off his head!

    • calicub

      Lol. The Cubs are paying the price, meanwhile ARAM is content to spend the entirety of his career on middling – average baseball clubs. I’ll be content when he retires never to have earned a WS ring.

      Aramis:
      “Nah, I just try to do my job. I don’t’ try to show anybody what kind of player I am. All you’ve got to do is look at my career, and that’ll tell you what kind of player I have been for a long time.”

      Yes, and that player is a lazy, self-centered slouch who for several years put his own selfish needs above that of his team. He played himself out of a career with the Cubs. I was floored when Brenly knocked him down a few notches.

  • calicub

    RT @ESPNChiCubs: When asked specifically about Figgins, Sveum: “Figgins would be one that would be interesting because he switch hits, etc.”

    Please tell me they aren’t actually considering bringing in this guy! Give guys like Gonzales or Clevenger the spot. I think its beyond obvious what Figgins has to offer a this point in his career and there is no way that production would beet out a three way platoon of lillibridge, LV and clevenger.

    • triple

      If I’m remembering correctly, when RayRay responded to my question about who he’d have at 3B instead of resigning Ian Stewart, he mentioned Chone Figgins and Placido Palanco.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Old and older.