Cubs Add Brian Schlitter to Bullpen, Designate Alberto Cabrera for Assignment

According to multiple reports, RHP Brian Schlitter has made the Cubs Opening Day roster and will take one of the final spots in the bullpen. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Alberto Cabrera was designated for assignment.

Brian Schlitter is a hard thrower, one of the prerequisites now for a Cubs’ reliever. Schlitter received a non-roster invite to camp after posting a 1-4 record in 38 appearances for the I-Cubs last season. Schlitter saved 20 games with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP (45 strikeouts, nine walks in 41 2/3 innings).

The Cubs acquired Schlitter as the player to be named later in the deal that sent Scott Eyre to the Phillies in August of 2008. Schlitter, a Park Ridge native, pitched in seven games for the Cubs in 2010.

Alberto Cabrera will be picked up by another team that feels they will be able to get him on track. Cabrera has a big arm and excellent stuff but has trouble repeating his mechanics and the lack of a consistent release point gets him into trouble. Cabrera was very good early in the spring before he slipped back into old habits. Cabrera is out of minor league options and had to break camp with the team or be designated for assignment.

The Cubs still have two spots in the pen to fill with Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm being the favorites for those jobs. But Neil Ramirez and Blake Parker are at Chase Field for Saturday’s game and are scheduled to pitch. The Cubs could recall either reliever, or both, to fill out the pen for Opening Day.

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  • cubtex

    Can’t understand why they wouldn’t at least give Cabrera a chance in April. Couldn’t Schlitter have started season in Iowa? What was the rush to dump Cabrera without seeing how he performs when it counts?

    • RynoTiger

      but his pitching this spring did count..it counted for his job..so if he wanted a job, he should have performed better

    • TheWrongGuy

      He was up in 2012 with a chance. Then sent down to work as a starter and on repeating his delivery. Then in 2013 he was at AA working with pitching coach J. Fassero to work on repeating his delivery. Then was called-up the end of last season. Every time having the same problems repeating his delivery. I like his stuff a lot and hope we can keep him but I expect he will be picked up by another team like the Braves so he can work with his brother.

      • cubtex

        He is still 25 with very good stuff. Don’t understand on this years team to not give him a shot. They did with Lendy Castillo 2 years ago and last year with Rondon. Neither of those 2 have a higher ceiling.

        • TheWrongGuy

          The difference is with those 2 they were Rule 5 draft picks that had to remain with the MLB roster. Cabrera has had 2 years to fix the issues they had with him and he hasn’t gotten it done. I agree with you and I believe everyone agree’s with you, “25 with very good stuff”, but sometimes you must cut ties and move on.

          • cubtex

            I understand rule 5 but same scenario. Must be on big league roster.

          • Tony_H

            This will be the next area that Theo haters choose to pick him apart, as over the next few years, the Cubs will lose some players who go on to major league careers. When you have a 40 man roster that is so young and more players coming up, you will have to let go of some players you may not want to lose.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Agree’d.

          • cubtex

            Yea. That 40 man roster is filled with gold :)))

          • Tony_H

            Just released one that you obviously think is gold.

          • cubtex

            Look again at that 40 man roster today and how it looked 3 years ago.

          • Tony_H

            I know it is amazing how much better it is.

          • cubtex

            You are drinking again before 3pm???

          • Tony_H

            Not at all. If I had to take over a team with the 40 man roster where it was 3 years ago or now, I would take now, if I valued my future. If I was given 1 year to win I would take 3 years ago and drink heavily knowing I wasn’t getting a 2nd year.

          • cubtex

            Replaced Cabrera with journeyman Brian Schlitter.

          • Tony_H

            ?????????????????

          • TheWrongGuy

            young controllable players are better than over paid aging vets any day of the week and twice on Sunday…. Damn its only Saturday. :)

          • cubtex

            Young controllable players with low ceilings? Don’t think so. Look at the 40 man roster. I can cut 5 names off of that list without blinking and wouldn’t hurt a bit

          • Tony_H

            Very likely, you have to consider what will be added through this year and after this season.

          • cubtex

            James McDonald Dallas Beeler Logan Watkins Luis Valbuena Matt Szcur. Not sure if McDonald is still on there but that is 5 painless cuts without even looking at the list

          • Tony_H

            I wouldn’t cut Beeler or Szczur at this point.

            The other will be gone sometime this year.

          • cubtex

            Is McDonald still on? What a waste of a spot if he is

          • Tony_H

            Going on the DL to start the year. They have no need for 40 man spots right now as they only need 3 to get the 25 man roster set and 2 spots are open and then Fujikawa to the 60 day DL.

            40 man spots won’t be needed until they need to call up someone to the team, like a Baez or Hendricks.

          • mutantbeast

            Id agree with allof them except Szcur.

          • mutantbeast

            Id guess youd prefer Gameboy Bradley the headcase or maybe that perennial all-start Joe Mather, right Tex? Or maybe you might want Carlos Marmhole and his 6 excedrins per outing releif pitching?

          • cubtex

            And Schlitter added. Lol

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Cut Valbuena right now? He just led spring training in HR an apoears poised for a strong year.

            Every year tough hoices have to be made and we’ll never all agree in temz. Obviously right now Theo feels Schlitter will help the team win more than Cabrera. Theydo appear pose to win a few more games this year so with a young lineup. Why not pick the 25 guys that he feels best advance that goal?

          • cubtex

            spring training Rider. People are complaining Cabrera has done nothing above AA. Valbuena has done nothing in the major leagues for the last 3 years

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            He’s been serviceable for 3 years. Always looked to me like he could be better. Cabrera COULD pass waivers. No way Valbuena would. He may end up with some trade value. 4th year in te league and improves to hit .270 with 20 HR, very possible and tradeable.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            It’s a tough decision and a FO has to make many. At the very least you can admit that it’s not completely cut and dry. There will be many more like it. Some you could support and some that will make you scratch your head. Happens with every team, every year.

          • Ripsnorter1

            “Poor Roster Management.”

            LOL

        • Tony_H

          The bullpens were not as deep as this years options. Plus with Fujikawa, Vizcaino coming up soon, not enough spots for him to stay all year, without producing.

          • cubtex

            If he sucks….then you cut him. Don’t understand the rush to replace him for Schlitter now

          • Tony_H

            I think they are saying he has sucked.

          • TheWrongGuy

            with the above mentioned him having to remain on the roster…
            He might slip through waivers but then have to sign a minor league deal here or to another club.

          • mutantbeast

            Gee Tex, I guess losses by the BP dont count in April, right?

          • cubtex

            Yep. Could cost them a chance at the playoffs! Good point!

          • cubtex

            It’s not like they would have lost Schlitter if this move wasn’t made now…..correct?

          • Tony_H

            Correct. Maybe they are not thinking about how to lose as many games as possible, like you think and are thinking about this move.

          • cubtex

            And with Rondon last year and Castillo the previous? The winning culture is here today? Didn’t get that memo

          • Tony_H

            They took chances on both those guys with a very weak bullpen situation.

            You are not CC’d on the memo’s, that is obvious by your comments :)

          • cubtex

            Lol

        • Ripsnorter1

          Jeff Samardzija had a $10 million dollar contract, and when his options were up, the Cubs kept him despite his erratic control.

          I understand your point: “on this year’s team.”

          I was shocked Schlitter made it.

      • cubtex

        Wouldn’t surprise me if another team moves him back to a starting pitcher

        • Tony_H

          He is still out of options, and would have to stay on a MLB roster if a team claims him.

          • cubtex

            Understood. Not talking about the start of this year

          • Tony_H

            His numbers above AA are just not good. He made AAA in 2011 and the majors in 2012 and 2013, yet had to go back to AA in 2012 and 2013 to find success.

    • GaryLeeT

      Does it really matter? They have a stable full of these guys.

      • cubtex

        But for Schlitter? If it was for Vizcaino….fine.

        • GaryLeeT

          Vizciano? That would mean they were trying to win ball games.

          • Scott

            Schlitter had 9.7k/9 and 1.9bb/9, so maybe this move actually does mean they are trying to win games. I think we all remember from last year how having a horrible pen early in the season can set a bad tone for therest of the year. This is a positive move.

          • cubtex

            Will it really make a difference? Schlitter now or giving Cabrera an opportunity for a month?

          • John_CC

            No. So why do get so obsessed over this insignificant moves? What a waste of time.

          • GaryLeeT

            I watched him last night. Was not too impressed. Veras & Rondon….ugh.

          • mutantbeast

            Get Real. Viz is only in the minors because he needs to build arm strength. Are you forgetting he has been injured for 2 years?

    • Richard Hood

      Because very simply he did not earn it. One thing you will notice with all the moves the Cubs have made this spring is that there was competition EVERYWHERE. Some guys stepped up (Kalish, Schlitter, Olt and Ramirez). Some did not (Parker, McDonald, to a lesser extent Robert, and Cabrera).

      The Cubs this spring has made one thing very clear. Perform to the level that is expected and you will be rewarded. Don’t and we no longer have use for your services.

      • cubtex

        Sweeney? Olt was pretty much handed the job at the start of ST. But I hear what u r saying

        • Tony_H

          Not true, he was handed an opportunity. By all impartial observers he earned the job.

        • mutantbeast

          If Olt had hit 125 and struck out 50% of the time hed be in the minors. Olt lead the team in RBIs and was 2nd in HRS. Yes, the brass wanted him to win the job, and he went out and won it.

          • cubtex

            Sorry but Olt hit .214 this spring against RHP with 15 K’s in 42 AB’s. But let’s keep that a secret.

          • John_CC

            And .275 overall with .550 slg % and .890 ops.

        • John_CC

          This is absolutely untrue! You just make this crap up over and over!

          Opt took advantage of the opportunity and EARNED his ticket to Chicago.

    • mutantbeast

      Tex, Cabrera has had his chances. Hes never performed up to his talents.

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  • Tony_H

    I think most of us saw this coming, as for all of the potential Cabrera has shown, he has not been able to be consistent enough above AA. Hopefully he can catch on with another team or even better clears waivers and ends up back in Iowa.

  • Tony_H

    I am fine with any of 2 of the Rondon, Grimm, Ramierz and Parker. I think all 4 will see time in Wrigley this year.

  • Tony_H

    GW and Bruce Miles are reporting that the bullpen is set with this move.

    Veras
    Strop
    Russell
    Wright
    Rondon
    Grimm
    Schlitter

    • GaryLeeT

      And that’s their idea of a revamped pen? That’s Titanic deck chair rearranging, at best. We better see Vizcaino, and Ramirez sooner, rather than later.

      • Tony_H

        You would complain if the bullpen had Mariano Rivera, Brad Lidge, Billy Wagner, Jonathan Broxton, Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersley in it all in their primes.

        And yes Vizcaino and Ramirez are likely to be up soon.

        • GaryLeeT

          You can try to deflect from truth by painting me as an extreme individual, but it won’t change the facts. Or, the minds of any objective observer. That pen stinks.

          • Tony_H

            Tell me what parts you don’t like.

          • GaryLeeT

            It would be faster to tell you the parts I do. (the preceding space was left intentionally blank)

          • Tony_H

            As normal, you don’t want to say who you think will fail or succeed. Easier to complain without specifics.

          • GaryLeeT

            Normal? Right, that’s my MO hit & run.

          • Tony_H

            Never said hit and run, just don’t want to name specific players you think will perform poorly.

          • GaryLeeT

            I think they all will, but I am holding out hope for Strop. Veras is just a gut feeling, and the rest are too old to not yet have had an established track record of success at the MLB level.

          • cubtex

            Wesley Wright and James Russell is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Strop has zero command and Rondon is inconsistent. The bullpen is not going to be very good looking at all the parts. That is why it is puzzling to me not to give Cabrera a shot. Rondon? Schlitter? Strop? Grimm? Can anyone honestly say these guys would be fixtures on any mlb team?

          • Josh Man

            Grimm is great the first couple of times through a lineup. For the Rangers last year the first four innings were always cake, then the lineup would come around a third time, and things would start to go badly. Pretty much the perfect recipe for a reliever. Grimm is going to be more than fine.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Wright Grimm and Rondon i don’t like and not thrilled by Veras or Schlitter.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          this bullpen is a long way from the days of Remlinger and Eyre. We are just throwing the lesser prospects and/or retreads against the wall and seeing if something sticks. Signing high-quality bullpen arms isn’t a priority until we are competitive anyway.

          • Tony_H

            I am not a fan of filling up a bullpen with FA signings.

      • Eugene Debs

        It’s really not bad at all.

        • GaryLeeT

          Based on what?

          • Eugene Debs

            Based on the guys that are in the bullpen, their overall talent, and in some cases their track record.

      • triple

        Yeah that’s a great idea… they should rush Vizcaino (elbow) and Ramirez (shoulder) who both have serious injury history and have not seen action in back to back days yet in ST. That would really be the best way to ruin these player’s futures and have the Cubs blow the most late inning leads.

        I think it’s clear that both those guys will be great arms in the back of the bullpen one day, but I think it’s safe to say that they will need at least a couple months to work up to a point where they are toeing the rubber in critical situations on back to back days and their arms/elbow/shoulder can handle that work load. As of now, Vizcaino has always had at least 2 days off in between appearances, and Ramirez has always had at least one day off.

        Come mid-season if both of these guys are able to pitch 2 days in a row, they will definitely be the first guys to be called up.

        • GaryLeeT

          Rush them? They could do the same thing from the the Chicago Cubs pen as they could from the Iowa Cubs pen.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    where the heck did Schlitter come from? I swear the first time I heard/saw this guy was last night’s game….

    I know his story…I read Neil’s info on him…I just don’t remember hearing about this guy all of ST…am I missing something?

    • Tony_H

      Yes

    • Tony_H

      He has been in the Cubs minor league system for the last 2 years.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Parker is humming…and hopefully, will be recalled.
    Neil Ramirez…can’t see why he’s in AAA. Big arm. Swing a big strikeout hammer.

    • triple

      Because he has yet to pitch on back-to-back days since dealing with shoulder problems last year. What good is a reliever who can’t take the ball 2 to 3 days in a row at times?

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yup. That’s why Kerry Wood retired. Couldn’t pitch more than once every three or four days. Yup.

      • cubtex

        Ramirez was a starter in the minors last year.

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