Cubs Relieve Locker Room Crowd with 18 Cuts

The Cubs dropped their spring training roster down to 40 today by optioning and assigning 18 players to the minors.

To the list...

RHP: Robert Coello, Thomas Diamond, Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Kyle Smit, Chris Carpenter, Trey McNutt, Jay Jackson

LHP: Scott Rice

C: Steve Clevenger, Chris Robinson

INF: Bryan LaHair, Marquez Smith, Josh Vitters

OF: Jim Adduci, Brett Jackson, Lou Montanez, Brad Snyder

They join Esmailin Caridad and John Gaub who were optioned last week. Marquez Smith is the only one that I'm surprised by, but it was a longshot for him to make the team anyway.

That leaves 20 pitchers, four catchers, 10 infielders and six outfielders. The NRI's that are still in camp include:

Todd Wellemeyer, Braden Looper, Angel Guzman, Matt Camp, Scott Moore, Augie Ojeda, Bobby Scales and Reed Johnson

And the rest of the current spring training roster:

C: Soto, Hill, Castillo, M. Ramirez

INF: Pena, Baker, Dewitt, Castro, Barney, A. Ramirez

OF: Soriano, Colvin, Fukudome, Byrd, Perez

SP: Zambrano, Dempster, Garza, Wells, Silva, Cashner, Coleman, J. Russell

RP: Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow, Samardzija, Maine, Stevens, J. Berg, Mateo


brief by Neyer on looming 2nd base platoon


"Anyway, this is probably a good thing for the Cubs. Neither DeWitt nor Baker will hit much, but platooning them does accentuate what they can do. Particularly if Quade goes all the way and exchanges DeWitt for Baker in the field when the Cubs are ahead late in games."

Odd, I think Baker is the slightly better fielder of the two. Neither are gold glovers but I can't see DeWitt having a reputation around the league of being a good fielding second baseman.

You know when I read that I thought he meant the other way around. I think Baker is slightly better at second, but both are bad. It would make the most sense to put Barney in late in games for both of them.

I think you're right, if I re-read that he could just as easily be saying put Baker in late in the game. Barney does make more sense though.

It probably makes more sense to just let Baker play everyday and see what he does. I think his average wouldn't be great, but he will have more pop against rhp than DeWitt. Maybe Baker puts up something like .260/15/60 rbi or better, which is probably better than what a platoon of him and DeWitt combines to do.

If I thought that the Cubs were going to contend I'd worry more about it, but I think it actually makes sense to see if DeWitt's swing will finally turn into production this year. If it doesn't, get rid of him, if it does, he'll be a fairly cheap starter for 2012 when the FA money is blown on Pujols or Fielder.

This appears to finalize the Cubs' six infielders for opening day roster. I can't say that I am in love with any of them.

Oops... didn't realize that the list you posted did not include the NRIs still in camp... Never mind...

it doesn't?

You've got "Matt Camp, Scott Moore, Augie Ojeda, Bobby Scales" listed as still with the team. Bobby Scales, backup shortstop. That would be awesome.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 12:32pm.
You've got "Matt Camp, Scott Moore, Augie Ojeda, Bobby Scales" listed as still with the team. Bobby Scales, backup shortstop. That would be awesome.


REAL NEAL: Believe it or not, Bobby Scales has actually looked very good this Spring. He has been hitting everything in sight, and he even made a couple of really nice plays at 2B (which is his one and only decent defensive position).

Back in the 1960's when AZ Phil was a Little Fart and MLB teams had ten-man pitching staffs and a seven-man bench, guys like Bobby Scales could make a living as a late-inning ace-in-the-hole PH (like Manny Mota, Smoky Burgess, et al). But I just can't see a path for Scales to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster right now, although I fully expect him to get another September call-up.

I think Scott Moore makes the team if Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome, Pena, A. Ramirez, DeWitt, or Baker start the season on the DL (or during the regular season if any of the eight go on the DL), and Matt Camp has to either beat-out Perez or Johnson for the 5th OF gig or Barney and Ojeda for the back-up mid-INF slot, but he's third in line at both slots, although both Perez and Johnson have been mediocre (so far), and Ojeda has a bad back.

Max Ramirez makes the team only if Soto or Hill start the season on the DL (otherwise he gets claimed off waivers if the Cubs try to outright him to AAA), and I believe W. Castillo gets optioned to Iowa no matter what he hits in Cactus League games, and then W. Castillo gets recalled if something happens to Soto or Hill during the regular season (after M. Ramirez has departed).

I meant that, where you list the infielders, it does not list the NRIs that are infielders...

caliis tweet...

Still there. #Cubs think he'll break out in 2011, others less optimistic. Important year. @kochusker: Vitters potential & tools still there?

Your last three RP pitchers being around when Diamond goes down is a bit of a surprise to me - I guess it means they want Diamond to continue starting? If Coleman, Berg or Mateo is on the opening day roster, project 82 may be in serious jeopardy.

I wonder if Camp has a legitimate shot at that last bench spot - if the Cubs decide that they prefer Barney getting full time AB's at Iowa, similar to Castillo. Brenley was waxing poetic about Camp's scrappiness the other day.

Russell makes the team over those three, don't you think?

I would guess so, though he faded a bit down the stretch last year. Unless I am counting incorrectly, those three, Stevens and Russel are all going down/away, unless Grabow isn't ready to go, or Cashner loses the job to Silva and they send him to Iowa to start.

my guess...

Demp, Z, Garza, Wells, Silva - Cashner to Iowa

Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow, Maine, Samardzija, Wellemeyer (swing man/long relief)

also could see it Stevens making the team and them cutting Ninja loose, Ninja's having a hard time justifying his spot at this point. If Grab-Ass isn't ready, then a spot opens of course..

Cashner makes the team no matter what, IMHO.


my feeling is Cubs are a little more determined to keep him as a starter this year, but don't want to eat Silva's contract either. Silva to the pen and Cashner to the rotation I suppose is possible, but haven't really heard that as an option.

"Silva to the pen and Cashner to the rotation I suppose is possible"

This or Silva gets traded.

ROB G - what's your thinking on "Welly" over "Loopy"?

And, should I pick UCLA in any of my brackets?

the battle of two good tourney coaches

flip a coin is my advice...

"[Russell] faded a bit down the stretch last year."

Not my recollection, and looking at the game logs, he had one bad outing in on Sept 5 in an 18-5 loss to Mets, giving up 5 hits and 5 runs in 2/3 inning.

Otherwise, his Sept-Oct numbers were 6.2 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts.

Chris Davis wants a spot or a trade from Rangers

I'm sure they'd ask for Brett Jackson, McNutt and Cashner in any deal.

Humorous comment below the Chris Davis article--

What team wants a 1B with sub .200 averages?

raised hand over here

I'd tell Texas people in hell want ice water from what I've heard.

Texas seems to be a bit unrealistic about the relative value of their players. I understand the mindset of wanting to get as much as you can in a trade, but expecting so much that it virtually guarantees no other teams will be interested tends to defeat the purpose of trying to trade the player in the first place.

I've gotten a strong impression over the last year that the Texas organization is very poorly run. I know they had playoff success last year, but their GM seems to be very unprofessional, and so has Nolan Ryan, surprisingly.

I'm not sure I understand Jon Daniels' approach. From what I hear, he's well-respected around baseball, but it seems he has tripped over his own feet a few times over the past year.

The whole thing with Chuck Greenberg leaving the organization was pretty weird. I'd be interested to know the whole story behind that move.

A friend of mine from high school is an exec with the Rangers. For his sake, I hope they are able to get their act together.

Is .327/.378/.415 (and 108 runs) out of your leadoff hitter really "thoroughly unhelpful"? Seems like the Cubs could use that kind of shitty performance.

probably not, is that Juan Pierre's line from whatever year he was talking about?

Yeah. He focused on the average and said Pierre was thoroughly unhelpful. We get his point, but that's a little hyperbolic.

poor example, must have sorted by Batting Average (.327) and OPS+(89), but not really fair when Bonds and Co. were right in the midst of their roiding prowess.

Also had that year in Colorado when he had a nearly identical year in Florida in 2004 that was a 107 OPS+. Hard to see how much Colorado helps Juan Pierre much, except maybe a triple or two.

You sound like Dusty Baker! Did Posnanski mean "in general" he was an unhelpful player? 2.2 offensive WAR and about 3.5 his first year with the Marlins... if he had a year like that with the Cubs maybe the Nolasco deal wouldn't have quite the same sting.

"Juan Pierre hit .327 in 2001 and led the league in stolen bases and was a thoroughly unhelpful offensive player."

Plus he had 11 triples. I mean...yeah, it's Pierre, we know his deal. But that's not thoroughly unhelpful. I'm not bashing his overall thesis, just that line...for the sake of no reason other than it struck me as a bit off.

Particualry when at the bottom of the article he goes on to trumpet wOBA and says league average is .330 (Pierre's was .353 that season).

I don't know why, but I find these numbers fascinating

... In 2010, pitchers posted a combined 1.96 ERA in wins, and 7.69 in losses. At the height of scoring in 2000, the numbers were 2.39 and 8.53; at the nadir in 1968, they were 1.36 and 5.22.

Does that mean the average margin of winning last year was about 5.5 runs? That seems hard to believe, and I watched the Cubs last year.

It would have to. The average number of runs scored per game is around 9.5 from year to year. So if the losers score around 2 then the winners score 7.5/

split-squad today

Randy Wells versus the Rockies

Cashner against the A's

Cashner immediately gives up a double and a single to Coco and Barton.

-edit- Both swung at the first pitch as does Willingham, Cashner gets out of the inning without further damage

Don't these pitchers get any scouting reports in ST?

I highly doubt they spend a lot of time on scouting reports especially against an AL team.

also possible that gameday is off with their pitch counts

1-2-3 for Cashner in the 2nd

3 scoreless by Wells already against Rox

Wells gives up a run on 2 singles and a sac fly in the 4th

Cashner with 2 runners on and 1 out in the third

-edit- but gets Hideki to GIDP

Don't understand the A's as sexy pick for this year.(MLB Network)

They have pitching, but how the hell are they going to score runs?

Cashner done after 3.2, McNutt in vs. A's

3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP

two singles, a double steal, a sac fly and error by Soriano lead to two Rockies runs, 3-0 in the 5th

assuming Wells is done after 5

5 IP, 3 HR, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K today's error news against Rox: E7 on Soriano, throw, allowing a second run to come in off a SAC FLY!


UPDATE: In OAKLAND game E2 on Max Ramirez when throw goes into the OF allowing Jai Miller to take 3rd!


Brett Jackson goes yard...

Brett Jackson Home Run



Which game?

vs. A's and Brett Anderson


Blake DeWitt joins the error party

Colvin and W. Castillo go deep back-to-back in A's game, 4-1 Cubs

Cashner, McNutt, Rice pitched so far

J. Berg gives up another run in Rox game, 4-1 Rox

Who's this W. Castillo guy?
as he ropes another extra base hit breaking the game wide open

Meanwhile, back in Mudville

Call strike 3! Koyie Hill ( 0/2 .043 ) strikes out with his bat on his shoulder to end a Cub rally and the game.

Yeah, they better keep Hill because this Castillo can't hit (.692 BA is nothing) and can't throw anyone out (oh wait, another CS today).

Castillo, however, doesn't add any MPH to the pitcher's fastballs.

i wonder what role the cubs think wellington is capable of...

he's young so his bat could come around to starter quality, but it doesn't seem likely with the avg/ob% part of his play even with a bit of pop in his bat.

dunno how long they want to pay soto to play C with average D and a bat that will cost them a lot of money in 2012/2013...especially 2013.

if they actually want to play the fielder/pujols game they might see soto as a tradable/expendable part with wellington taking over C duties in 2012.

pure speculation at this point...but for a guy who, as of now, projects as a backup catcher with strong D they don't seem too interested in that role for him in 2011.

can't they just employ Koyie Hill as the bullpen catcher?

Koyie can call the game from the dugout when Castillo plays and save us from watching him hit.

You know, I always thought it was Dusty's preference to keep one or two useless guys on the bench, but now it's becoming clear that he wasn't the main culprit on that one. Robinson Chirinos is scuffling along at .429 .500 .905 down in Florida.

Cubs scrubs break it open vs. A's - 8-1

damage off of former Cub minor leaguer Jon Hunton and nobody Willie Eyre

Rox win 4-2 in the other game.

Jesus. Scott Eyre really lost everything. First his money, then his first name.

Clearly the work of Michael Barrett.....

He lost his first name when Piniella called him Stevie.

piece on Vitters and video with interviews of Vitters, B. Jackson and McNutt

great headline by Aaron Gleeman

Ron Washington wants experienced closer to replace Neftali Feliz, who had zero experience before 40 saves

Well based on what they think is fare trade for Michael Young, we should probably be able to get their entire system for Marmol, or half of it for Wood.

Marcos Mateo has not pitched since a week ago Sunday (nearly ten days).

BTW, the earliest a player can be placed on the 15-day DL is nine days prior to MLB Opening Day, which is next Tuesday (March 22). Nine days prior to Opening Day (March 22 in 2011) is also the furthest back a player's 15-day DL stint can be backdated.

A player can be placed on the 60-day DL anytime after the start of Spring Training in February, as long as the club's roster is full and the player who is placed on the 60-day DL is replaced on the club's 40-man MLB roster with another player.

Recent comments

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  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.

  • evidently i was busy burying context and meaning.

    i was excited about this playoff season kicking up in the drama of that environment, but it was stated insanely muddled.

  • Woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep in excitement/anticipation. Go Cubs Go!