Cubs Option RHP Neil Ramirez to Triple-A Iowa

The Cubs announced the seventh round of spring roster cuts on Sunday morning. The Cubs optioned RHP Neil Ramirez to Triple-A Iowa. Ramirez was in the mix for a spot in the bullpen after throwing the ball extremely well this spring. In five appearances, Ramirez did not allow a run while surrendering just two hits with no walks and three strikeouts (0.00 ERA, 0.40 WHIP). At this point it is unclear if Ramirez will be stretched back out as a starter or if he will stay a reliever during his optional assignment with Iowa.

With Sunday’s roster move, the Cubs spring roster officially stands at 36 players.

Depending on what the Cubs decide to do with the fifth spot in the rotation, there will be either two or three spots in the pen for Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm and Alberto Cabrera to fill. If Chris Rusin starts the season in the rotation, Carlos Villanueva would take one of the three spots. If Rusin is optioned to Iowa, all three relievers should join Jose Veras, Pedro Strop, James Russell and Wesley Wright on Opening Day in the Cubs’ bullpen.

Spring Roster Moves

Optioned to the Minors

  • Arismendy Alcantara, IF (Triple-A)
  • Logan Watkins, IF (Triple-A)
  • Matt Szczur, OF (Triple-A)
  • Dallas Beeler, RHP (Triple-A)
  • Jorge Soler, OF (Double-A)
  • Arodys Vizcaino, RHP (Triple-A)
  • Brett Jackson, OF (Triple-A)
  • Josh Vitters, OF/IF (Triple-A)
  • Zac Rosscup, LHP (Triple-A)
  • Christian Villanueva, 3B (Triple-A)
  • Blake Parker, RHP (Triple-A)
  • Neil Ramirez, RHP (Triple-A)

Reassigned to Minor League Camp

  • Kris Bryant, 3B
  • Albert Almora, OF
  • Carlos Pimentel, RHP
  • Jeudy Valdez, IF
  • Marcus Hatley, RHP
  • Eric Jokisch, LHP
  • Kyle Hendricks, RHP
  • Rafael Lopez, C
  • Armando Rivero, RHP
  • Mitch Maier, OF
  • Tommy Hottovy, LHP
  • Javier Baez, IF
  • Brian Schlitter, RHP
  • Jonathan Sanchez, LHP
  • Chang-Yong Lim, RHP
  • Chris Valaika, IF
  • Casper Wells, OF


  • Aaron Cunningham, OF

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  • Patrick_Schaefer

    If arrietta were healthy to start the year. My rotation would go as follows wood, shark, rusin, arrieta, and hammel/Jackson fighting for a spot. I know that’s not ever gonna happen. But we don’t have an ace shark is so overrated he is way to inconsistent. Jackson ehh. Hammel ehh. Arrieta like shark hasn’t put it all together but has upside. Either way at best we have a couple #3’s and a #4 and a couple # 5’s.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I think you are generous.

      Hammel isn’t even a #5 on a good team (ie, on a playoff team). He’s a sub .500 pitcher with an ERA of 5.00.

      Rusin? So far, he’s not capable of holding down a #5 spot on a good team. Sure, he pitched well this ST, but then, it was ST. His stuff is just too marginal.

      Arrieta–he can’t hold down the #5 spot on the Orioles (ie, a playoff team). Too wild. Great stuff but no control at all.

      These three are not #5 on playoff teams.

      So that leaves Wood and Shark. Shark is way too inconsistent. And so I’d say we have two #3 starters at best. And not much else.

      • Theboardrider

        I like what you said about Arietta. Other than Shark he has te most upside.

        • cubtex

          Rider- You mentioned that Arrieta was the Orioles opening day starter last year. I found that hard to believe so I just checked and he got his 1st start April 5th. It was the O’s opening day but they had 3 games before that. After 4 starts in April with the O’s he had a 6,63 ERA and was taken out of the rotation. He had no starts in May and got another start in June where he got shelled and that is when he was traded to the Cubs. We will see what happens this year but he has never had success as a starter thus far.

          • Theboardrider

            Guess I was wrong about that. But he had a couple pretty dominant start for us last year. The potential is there he just has to out it together. It could easily be this year, or not. But he can be a great starter, we’ve seen it in a Cubs uniform.

          • cubtex
          • Theboardrider

            I don’t need a scouting report on him. I’ve seen him pitch. I choose to believe in the guy because I’m a fan and right now his future is tied with that of my favorite team. He’s shown flashes of dominance. It’s all in what you choose to look at. I’m sure most Cardinal fans don’t expect much from him but I do.

          • cubtex

            thought you would want to be informed on what his peripherals say. no worries. I can’t stand all that saber talk during Cubs telecasts either.

          • Tony_H

            Arrieta was the Opening Day starter for the Orioles in 2012.

          • Tony_H

            Never must not include with the Cubs last year.

            9 starts – 3.66 ERA 1.12 WHIP
            4-2 record.

          • cubtex

            never must not? He saw what he did with Cubs. Why should I include that. He was talking about the O’s?

          • Tony_H

            I took never had success as a starter thus far to mean, like never.

            I guess I don’t see where the conversation was only as an Oriole. My bad!

      • cubtex

        agreed. Bullpen will get plenty of work with this years starting staff.

        • Theboardrider

          Good thing they look pretty stout.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Ok so what your saying is we have a couple #3’s and some #6 and #7’s

      • Tony_H

        Rusin didn’t do to bad last year in his 13 starts for the Cubs.

        3.93 ERA 1.35 WHIP

        Looks like a BOR pitcher to me.

  • Zonk

    With Ramirez going to Iowa, it seems the path is clearer toward Rusin starting in the majors. To me that’s because it’s basically down to Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon for 2 or 3 spots, depending on what happens with Rusin. Cabrera is probably a lock due to options, so it’s “pick 2” of Rusin, Rondon, Grimm (with Carlos Villanueva’s versatility really helping us here).

    Rusin has pitched better than Grimm, and Grimm could work on a couple things at Iowa…..I would take Rusin and Rondon north, with Carlos in ‘pen.

  • triple

    I could see Villanueva starting the season as the 5th starter, and Rusin will get starts in Iowa. Then when Arietta is healthy and ready to go, I imagine Villanueva will go to the pen, forcing the worst bullpen performer (with options) back to AAA. At some point, when a starter either gets injured or traded, then I can see Rusin coming up to replace their spot in the rotation.

    Also, I am concerned with how Veras has looked this spring. Hopefully he can anchor the back end of the bullpen early, as we know how important it will be for this team to not blow games early in the season.