11/5 Roster decisions

The Cubs brass is not only discussing which free agents to pursue during their organizational meetings this week in Mesa but also which Minor Leaguers to keep on the 40-man roster. The roster is at 37. One player who could be available for the Rule 5 Draft if he isn’t added, according to the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, is third baseman Marquez Smith, who is playing for the Tigres de Aragua in Venezuela. Smith was batting .271 with four homers, three doubles and 14 RBIs so far, including a 4-for-6 game Oct. 31. Smith began the season with Double-A Tennessee and batted .182 in 16 games but then hit .314 with 26 doubles, 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 91 games at Triple-A Iowa. A right-handed hitter, he batted .357 against lefties, .297 against right-handers. He also hit .326 with runners in scoring position. Smith, 25, was selected in the eighth round of the 2007 Draft; he played at Clemson.

— Carrie Muskat


Doesn’t this sound all to familiar to those who remember Casey McGehee in Cubbie Blue…?

He tore up AAA, but as SEptember was all about Quade’s jobs drive, he never got a chance despite the extended rosters.

After all, why do we need a 3rd baseman with power and the ability to hit in the clutch?

Yes Hustle it does sound familiar. Does that mean they now have TREMENDOUS confidence in Vitters that they no longer need Smith? They had too much confidence in both Vitters AND Ramirez combined with lack of forsight lead to the RIDICULOUS release of McGhee. Funny, I haven’t read anything that would lead us fans to believe they are counting on Vitters for 2011…so why not protect your other third baseman? There might be somebody else worth protecting more the Smith, the thing is WHO is making these decisons? If it’s the same people who completley dropped the ball with McGhee then we’re in trouble.

McGehee was let go after the 2008 season.. in which he had similar numbers to Smith does now at AAA. Difference is.. where was McGahee going to play back then? Ramirez had a solid hold on 3rd. This being before his shoulder injury in 2009 which NOONE foresaw! So.. McGehee would be where Barney is, Fontenot was, etc.. sitting on the BENCH! Every org has to make a decision on “prospects” each year. I don’t think there was an “expert” out there that thought McGehee was near the player he has turned out to be. How can anyone say he would be the same with the Cubs.. MIL may have the right hitting instructor etc that got him where he is. Just like proven veterans who can fail miserably once signed though succeeded previously, prospects are hit and miss.. some succeed in a different org.. some don’t. Also, there is not a top 10 or 20 prospect listing out there that has Smith on it… and I am a fan of Smith to stay. Unfortunately, prospects are a year to year decision once they reach so many years in the minors… you can’t hold onto everyone. You are only allowed a 40 man roster… plain and simple.

Also plain and simple…McGhee would have played in AAA BACK THEN. What was the harm in keeping him? Which player gained his spot on the roster? Did Hendry save a ton of money by releasing McGhee? No. He was a cheap insurance policy for an aging third baseman that BACK THEN started to show signs of nagging physical issues. A smarte GM doesn’t get burned like that.

Is there any chance that they use Soto primarily at first base and some at catcher? Johnny Bench played first and catcher for the Reds to extend his career. Soto played first at Iowa and has the power and on-base percentage for the position.

That would open catching primarily for Wellington Castillo with Koyie Hill or Robinson Chirinos as his main backup. Chris Robinson is another fast rising star at Iowa.

I really don’t expect Hill to be on the big-league club, but rather as a manager at Iowa or somewhere lower in the farm system.

Soto at first solves several problems and allows for the development of their young catchers while saving millions of dollars on a high priced free agent.

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