Cubs Outright Casey Weathers to Iowa
The Cubs have sent RHP Casey Weathers outright to AAA Iowa.
The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 39 (one slot is open), and the 2012 Spring Training roster has been cut to 57.
Injured players who accrued no MLB Service Time the previous season and who were not Rule 5 Draft picks can be sent to the minors anytime up to 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day, so this move may have been made to preclude having to put Weathers on the MLB DL (where he would be making $480K) in the event that he suddenly turns up with a sore arm. (The Cubs can now pay him at the minor league split rate even if he ends up on the DL at Iowa).
Of course, it wasn't necessary to outright Weathers to the minors (he could have just been optioned), but the Cubs might be looking ahead to having to add some players to the 40-man roster by Opening Day (perhaps RHP Rodrigo Lopez and LHP Trever Miller, plus possibly OF Jorge Soler, too), and this will give them the roster flexibility they will need to do that.
A 1st round pick of the Rockies out of Vanderbilt in 2007 and the closer for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics, Weathers has not been able to come back from 2009 TJS. He battled control issues post-TJS in the minors in 2010 and 2011, he struggled in the AFL last fall, and he has pitched poorly so far this spring.
The 26-year old Weathers was acquired with 3B Ian Stewart from the Colorado Rockies for OF Tyler Colvin and INF D. J. LeMahieu this past off-season.
Weathers is not eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (6YFA) until post-2013.