For those of you who follow the Cubs minor leagues, you may be interested to know that getting released isn't necessarily the End of the Baseball World as it once was.
While 1B Brian Dopirak (now at Hi-A with Toronto Blue Jays), RHP Joel Santo (at Hi-A with Houston Astros), SS Carlos Rojas (at AA with Baltimore Orioles), and RHP Bobby Brownlie (with Cleveland Indians at AA in 2007, now with Washington Nationals at AA) were able to sign with MLB minor league affiliates after getting released by the Cubs, many other ex-Cubs prospects have signed deals with independent professional baseball clubs for 2008.
Independent professional leagues are located from California to New England, from Florida to Canada, and more than two dozen ex-Cub minor leaguers and (in some cases) one-time Baseball America Top Ten prospects currently populate independent league rosters.
Playing in an independent league isn't necessarily a dead end, either. RHP Tanner Watson (curently a rotation starter at AA Tennessee) and RHP Dumas Garcia (currently the co-closer at Daytona) were signed by the Cubs last year out of independent leagues, and (for example) LHP George Sherrill (BAL), LHP Joe Thatcher (SD), and RHP Nelson Figueroa (NYM) got back to the minor leagues (and eventually got to the big leagues) after pitching in independent professional leagues.
Here are the ex-Cubs presently on the rosters of independent league teams (and I wouldn't be surprised to see recently-released INF Ryne Malone and RHP Ryan Meyers join them):
Albenis Machado, SS (El Paso)
Derek Schermerhorn, 1B (Wichita)
Brandon Sing, 1B (Pensacola)
John Webb, RHP (Pensacola)
Gary Cates, SS (Camden)
Nic Jackson, OF (Camden)
Richard Lewis, 2B (Camden)
Mike Nannini, RHP (Lancaster, PA)
John Nelson, INF (Lancaster, PA)
Chris Walker, OF (Camden)
NOTE: Cates, Jackson, Lewis, and Walker were teammates on the Cubs AA West Tenn DiamondJaxx club in 2006, and Nannini and Nelson were teammates on the Iowa Cubs last year.
Isaac Pavlik, LHP (New Jersey)
Corey Bachman, RHP (Washington, PA)
Matt Hudgins, C-1B (Kalamazoo)
Brian Leclerc, OF (Rockford)
Andrew McCormick, RHP (Chilicothe, OH)
Matt Maradeo, RHP (Washington, PA)
Billy Mottram, 3B (Florence, KY)
Michael Bartek, RHP (Orange County)
Peter Farina, C (Yuma)
Patrick Brooks, 2B (Gary)
Luke Hagerty, LHP (Schaumburg)
Scott Koerber, LHP (Fargo)
Ryan O'Malley, LHP (Schaumburg)
Robert Ransom, RHP (Winnipeg)
Alan Rick, C (Fargo)
NOTE: Koerber and Rick were teammates last year at AA Tennessee.