They're Fitchin' to Get Started

With Cubs pitchers & catchers scheduled to report to Fitch Park in Mesa this week, and with position players scheduled to report next week, let's take a quick look at the Cubs 2008 Spring Training roster:

2008 CUBS SPRING TRAINING ROSTER

59 players will be in camp
39 on MLB reserve list (40-MAN ROSTER)
20 Non-Roster Invitees (NRI)

(40-MAN ROSTER/NRI in parenthesis):

31 Pitchers (23/8)
6 Catchers (2/4)
12 Infielders (7/5)
10 Outfielders (7/3)

* bats or throws left
# bats both

=====================

PITCHERS (31)

PITCHERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER (23):
Jose Ascanio
* Neal Cotts
Ryan Dempster
* Scott Eyre
Sean Gallagher
Angel Guzman
Adam Harben
Kevin Hart
* Rich Hill
Bob Howry
Tim Lahey
Jon Lieber
* Ted Lilly
Carlos Marmol
* Sean Marshall
Jason Marquis
Juan Mateo
Billy Petrick
* Carmen Pignatiello
Jeff Samardzija
Kerry Wood
Michael Wuertz
Carlos Zambrano

NON-ROSTER PITCHERS (8):
* Edward Campusano
Esmailin Caridad (ex-Hiroshima Toyo Carp Dominican Academy)
Jose Ceda
Chad Fox
* Geoffrey Jones
Mike Smith
Shingo Takatsu
* Les Walrond

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CATCHERS (6)

CATCHERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER (2):
Henry Blanco (also 1B)
Geovany Soto (also 1B)

NON-ROSTER CATCHERS (4):
Welington Castillo
# J. D. Closser
Josh Donaldson
# Koyie Hill (also 1B-3B)

=====================

INFIELDERS (12)

INFIELDERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER (7):
Ronny Cedeno (SS-2B-CF)
Mark DeRosa (2B-3B-1B-RF-LF)
* Mike Fontenot (2B)
Derrek Lee (1B)
Aramis Ramirez (3B)
Ryan Theriot (SS-2B-3B)
Daryle Ward (1B-LF-RF)

NON-ROSTER INFIELDERS (5):
# Andres Blanco (SS-2B)
# Luis Figueroa (2B-SS)
* Micah Hoffpauir (1B-LF)
Casey McGehee (3B-1B-C)
# Bobby Scales (IF-OF)

===========================

OUTFIELDERS (10)

OUTFIELDERS ON 40-MAN ROSTER (7):
Jake Fox (LF-RF, also C-1B)
* Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
* Sam Fuld (CF-RF-LF)
Matt Murton (LF-RF)
* Eric Patterson (CF-LF, also 2B)
* Felix Pie (CF)
Alfonso Soriano (LF)

NON-ROSTER OUTFIELDERS (3)
* Tyler Colvin (CF-LF)
* Josh Kroeger (LF-RF)
# Andres Torres (CF-RF-LF)

============================

PROJECTED 2008 PAYROLL (as of 2-10-2008)

NOTE: $$$/$$$ = Major league salary/"minor league split" salary

SIGNED FOR 2008:
Henry Blanco - $2.8M
Neal Cotts - $800K + $75K in performance bonuses
Ryan Dempster - $5.5M + $800K in performance bonuses
Mark DeRosa - $3.75M
Scott Eyre - $3.8M + $300K in performance bonuses
Kosuke Fukudome – $12M
Bob Howry - $4M
Derrek Lee - $13M
Jon Lieber - $3.5M
Ted Lilly - $7M
Jason Marquis - $6.375M
Aramis Ramirez - $14M
Jeff Samardzija - $850K/$600K
Alfonso Soriano - $13M
Daryle Ward – $1.2M
Kerry Wood - $4.2M + $3.45M in performance bonuses
Michael Wuertz - $860K
Carlos Zambrano - $15M
TOTAL - $111.5M (plus $5.13M in potential performance bonuses)

PAY-OFF
Jacque Jones (traded to DET) - Cubs agreed to pay the $1M remaining from Jones' deferred signing bonus (due no later than January 2008), plus $2M of Jones' 2008 salary.

AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) FOR 2008

NOTE: Minor League "split" salary must be at least 60% of player's actual paid salary from previous season

All of these salaries are "guesstimates"

$$$/$$$ = Likely 2008 MLB salary/Likely 2008 “minor league split” salary

Jose Ascanio – $392.5K/$62.5K
Ronny Cedeno – $410K/$165K (out of minor league options)
Mike Fontenot – $405K/$150K
Jake Fox – $392.5K/$62.5K
Sam Fuld – $392.5K/$62.5K
Sean Gallagher – $392.5K/$62.5K
Angel Guzman – $395K/$220K
Adam Harben – $390K/$62.5K
Kevin Hart – $392.5K/$62.5K
Rich Hill – $430K/$220K
Tim Lahey – $390K/$31,125
Carlos Marmol – $420K/$180K
Sean Marshall – $415K/$215K
Juan Mateo – $392.5K/$120K
Matt Murton – $425K/$225K
Eric Patterson – $390K/$62.5K
Billy Petrick – $392.5K/$62.5K
Felix Pie – $400K/$150K
Carmen Pignatiello – 392.5/$62.5K
Geovany Soto – $395K/$62.5K (out of minor league options)
Ryan Theriot – $420K/$235K

===================================

ELIGIBLE TO BE FREE-AGENT AFTER 2008:

Henry Blanco (vesting option or else club option with buy-out for 2009)
Ryan Dempster
Scott Eyre (has limited “no trade” through 2008)
Bob Howry
Jon Lieber (has automatic Type XX FA “no trade” rights through 6-15-2008)
Daryle Ward
Kerry Wood (has automatic Type XX FA “no trade” rights through 6-15-2008, but he will also get automatic 10/5 “no trade” rights beginning on the third day of the 2008 season)

SIGNED BEYOND 2008:

Mark DeRosa ($5.5M in 2009, then FA)

Jason Marquis ($9.875M in 2009, then FA)

Derrek Lee ($13M in 2009 and 2010, then FA – has full “no trade” through 2010)

Ted Lilly ($12M in 2009 and 2010, then FA)

Kosuke Fukudome ($12M in 2009, 2010, and 2011, then FA).

Jeff Samardzija (thru 2011 + mutual options for 2012 & 2013 – has full “no trade” through 2011)
2009: $1.3M
2010: $2.5M
2011: $2.8M
2012: $3M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary arbitration)
2013: $3.5M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary-arbitration)

Aramis Ramirez ($15.65M in 2009 and $15.75M in 2010, $14.6M 2011 player option, and $16M 2012 mutual option with $2M buy-out – has full “no trade” in contract through 2010, but he will also get automatic 10/5 “no trade” rights beginning in June 2009)

Carlos Zambrano ($17.75M in 2009, $17.875 in 2010 and 2011, and $18M in 2012, plus $19.25M 2013 vesting-player option – has full “no trade” in contract through 2011, but he also will get automatic 10/5 “no trade” rights beginning in August 2010).

Alfonso Soriano ($13M in 2008, $16M in 2009, and $18M 2010 through 2014, then FA – has full “no trade” through 2014)

=======================================

PROJECTED ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION POST-2008:

Ronny Cedeno
Neal Cotts
Rich Hill (projected 2+149 MLB ST post-2008 – almost certainly will qualify for salary arbitration as a “Super Two”)
Sean Marshall (projected 2+132 MLB ST post-2008 – could qualify for salary arbitration as a “Super Two” - see COMMENT below)
Matt Murton
Michael Wuertz

NOTE: Post-2008 salary arbitration projections are based on each player spending entire 2008 season in MLB.

COMMENT: If Sean Marshall were to spend at least 20 days on Optional Assignment to the minors in 2008, he almost certainly would NOT be eligible for salary arbitration as a “Super Two” post-2008. (The threshold for “Super Two” status has never been less than 2+125 MLB ST).

However, if Marshall spends 19 days or less on Optional Assignment in 2008, or if he spends at least 20 days on optional assignment but not more than ten days in succession, he will accrue a full season of MLB Service Time, and thus he could very possibly qualify for salary arbitration as a “Super Two” post-2008.

So to avoid the possibility of Marshall qualifying as a “Super Two” post-2008, the Cubs would be smart to option Marshall to the minors for at least 20 days in succession, probably right at the start of the season coming out of Spring Training.

=====================================

MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS (SPRING TRAINING 2008):

* Certain players must first clear Optional Assignment Waivers (see COMMENT below)

RULE 5:
Tim Lahey (see NOTE-1)
NOTE-1: Tim Lahey can be sent to the minors by the Cubs only after clearing Rule 6 return waivers (which are irrevocable), and then Lahey’s original organization (MIN) also must decline to reclaim player (MLB Rule 6 outlines the method for removing a player selected in Rule 5 Draft from club’s 40-man roster). Look for Lahey to eventually be the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal (with the Twins satisfying their PTBNL obligations by declining to reclaim Lahey after he clears Rule 6 return waivers).

NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Ronny Cedeno
Geovany Soto

ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT:
* Neal Cotts (see COMMENT below)
Mike Fontenot
* Angel Guzman (see NOTE-2 and COMMENT below)
Rich Hill
Carlos Marmol
Felix Pie
* Michael Wuertz (see COMMENT below)
NOTE-2: Angel Guzman has used three minor league options, but because he has not completed five “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster through the 2007 season, he gets a 4th minor league option, as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons. (Guzman will likely spend most or all of the 2008 season on the DL rehabbing from TJ surgery, so he will almost certainly have the 4th minor league option available again in 2009).

TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Jose Ascanio (see NOTE-3)
Jake Fox
Sean Gallagher
Adam Harben
Sean Marshall
Juan Mateo
Matt Murton
Eric Patterson
Ryan Theriot
NOTE-3: Jose Ascanio has used two minor league options, but because he has spent only three “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option, as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons.

THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Sam Fuld
Kevin Hart
Billy Petrick (see NOTE-3)
Carmen Pignatiello
Jeff Samardzija (see NOTE-4)
NOTE-3: Billy Petrick has used one minor league option, but because he has spent only two “full seasons” on an active minor league or major league roster, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons.
NOTE-4: Jeff Samardzija has used one minor league option, but because he has spent only one “full season” on an active minor league or major league roster, he will be eligible for a 4th minor league option as long as it is used prior to completing five full seasons.

COMMENT: Players with at least three years of MLB service time or players who have been previously outrighted in their career can refuse an Outright Assignment to the minors, and players with at least five years of MLB service time can refuse an Optional Assignment to the minors.

There are also certain players with less than five years of MLB service time who must first clear MLB Optional Assignment Waivers before they can be optioned to the minors. Players reach this point when they hit the third anniversary of being added to a regular season 25-man roster, or the two-year anniversary if the player spent one full season on optional assignment to the minors prior to being added to a 25-man regular season roster for the first time, or the one-year anniversary if the player spent two full seasons on optional assignment to the minors prior to being added to a 25-man regular season roster for the first time.

Optional Assignment Waivers are revocable the first time they are requested in a given waiver period, and irrevocable the second time they are requested in the same waiver period. The waivers can be requested at any time, and the club does not necessarily have to option the player to the minors once the player clears waivers, because once a player clears Optional Assignment Waivers, the waivers are good for the entire waiver period. Because these waivers are revocable, getting a player through Optional Assignment Waivers is usually just a formality, but another GM could make a nuisance claim if he were so inclined.

So a smart GM should place those players who require Optional Assignment Waivers before they can be optioned to the minors on waivers right at the beginning of each waiver period to avoid getting in a bind later in that waiver period, when the player’s spot on the 25-man roster might suddenly be needed (and that would probably the one time when a rival GM might consider putting in a “blocking” claim that wouldn’t be based on pure nuisance).

As of Spring Training 2008, Neal Cotts, Angel Guzman, and Michael Wuertz are the only three players on the Cubs 40-man roster with less than five years of MLB service time who must first clear Optional Assignment Waivers before they can be optioned to the minors. However, Mike Fontenot will require Optional Assignment Waivers as of April 11 (and since that is during the waiver period that runs from February 16th through the 30th day of the regular season, Fontenot should be placed on Optional Assignment Waivers right along with Cotts, Guzman, and Wuertz on February 16), and then Rich Hill (June 15th) and Matt Murton (July 7th) will reach the point where they will require Optional Assignment Waivers during the waiver period that runs from the 31st day of the regular season through July 31st.

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