Cubs Sign German, Send Five to Minor League Camp
Apparently unhappy with what they've seen so far from Luis Rivas, the Cubs have signed 30-year old super-sub IF-OF Esteban German to a minor league contract, with an NRI to Spring Training. German was released by the Kansas City Royals last Friday.
In 388 MLB games (with OAK, TEX, and mostly KC), German has played 2B-3B-SS-LF-CF, and even has gone behind the plate on ocacasion. A right-handed hitter, German has hit 277/358/383 over his big league career, with 28 SB (14 CS).
German possibly has a chance to make the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster, although it would probably require the Cubs going with an 11-man pitching staff. Otherwise he will probably end up at Iowa.
In addition, the Cubs have cut five players, optioning OF Richie Robnett (acquired from OAK in the Michael Wuertz deal) to AAA Iowa, and sending Pitchers J. R. Mathes, Brian Schlitter, and Matt Smith, and Catcher Steve Clevenger to minor league camp. None of the cuts are a surprise. Contrary to what it says in the Official Press Release, the Cubs big league camp Spring Training roster actually now stands at 54 (not 53). They didn't count Esteban German when they added up the total).
Also, veteran 3B Corey Koskie has arrived at Cubs camp, and will be given a chance to show what he can do and if he has anything left. The 35-year old Koskie was a member of Team Canada in the WBC, after missing the 2006 and 2007 seasons with Post-Concussion Syndrome.
My guess is that Koskie will go to Iowa to start the season as insurance in case something bad happens to Aramis Ramirez, with the understanding that he can request his release every 30 days (after 30 days, after 60 days, etc). The Cubs have had that type of arrangement in the past with veteran players who agree to play at AAA.