Cubs Down to 31 Healthy Bodies
I lost track there for a bit, but it seems the Cubs have moved 10 bodies since my last update: D. McDonald, Javier Baez, T. Wada, N. Ramirez, B. Parker, B. Schlitter, C. Yong-Lim, C. Valaika, C. Wells and J. Sanchez. Wada was subsequently re-signed to a minor league deal today.
LOCKED IN (MOST LIKELY) - 23
Position Players: Castillo, Kottaras, Rizzo, Castro, Barney, Schierholtz, Ruggiano, Lake, Sweeney, Valbuena
SP: Samardzija, Wood, E. Jackson, Hammel, C. Rusin
RP: Veras, Strop, Wright, Russell, Carlos Villanueva, A. Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon
DISABLED LIST - 3
Fukijawa, Arrieta, J. McDonald
ON THE BUBBLE - 6
Murphy, Olt, Roberts(NRI), Bonifacio(NRI), Kalish (NRI), Coughlan(NRI)
MOST LIKELY CUT OR OPTIONED - 2
J. Baker (NRI), E. Whiteside (NRI)
ALREADY OPTIONED OR RELEASED - 32
Soler, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Szczur, Watkins, Valdez(NRI), Pimentel(NRI), Jokisch(NRI), A. Cunningham, M. Hatley (NRI), Beeler, Hendricks(NRI), Rosscup, J. Vitters, B. Jackson, Christian Villanueva, A. Vizcaino, A. Rivero(NRI), M. Maier(NRI), R. Lopez(NRI), Baez (NRI), T. Wada (NRI), T. Hottovy (NRI), D. McDonald(NRI), N. Ramirez, B. Parker, J. Sanchez (NRI), Yong-Lim (NRI), B. Schlitter (NRI), C. Valaika (NRI), C. Wells(NRI)
Since most teams break camp with 13 pitchers, it appears all 4 left are gonna make the team; Rusin as your 5th starter, Villanueva to the pen(guess they could flip-flop) with Cabrera, Grimm and Rondon also breaking camp with the club. I'm presuming J. McDonald will find his way to the disabled list of course.
That leaves 2 spots open for the 8 position players in camp that I still consider on the bubble. Baker and Whiteside don't look like they'll dethrone Kottares for the back-up catching duties, so scratch them off. Valbuena is having too good a camp to be cut, so he will either take the majority of at-bats at third base if they're not quite ready to give Mike Olt the permanent job, or maybe act as a flex starter splitting time between 2b and 3b depending on match-ups. Regardless, his roster spot is safe, which leaves just the 2 open spots for Olt, Murphy, Roberts, Bonifacio, Kalish and Coghlan.
Unless Olt's shoulder needs some more time, I'd be surprised if he doesn't head north with the club. He's had a good spring and not much left for him in the minors to learn, leaving 1 spot for Murphy, Roberts, Bonifacio, Kalish and Coughlan. If they're going by spring training numbers, Roberts has the edge by OPS: Roberts (.767), Bonifacio (.695), Kalish (.689). Coghlan (.621), Murphy (.589). Positonal versatility may be the key, or at the very least an ability to play some outfield so the Cubs have a 5th outfielder, in which case Roberts and Murphy sink to the bottom with Bonifacio, Kalish and Coglan edging towards the front. Of course last man on is usally first man off, so don't get too worked up over it.
In other news, Castro took some minor league at-bats today and seems to believe he'll have no problem being ready for Opening Day which I presume the Cubs agree, otherwise Baez would probably still be in camp.