4/4 Cubs roster decisions

The Cubs will open the season with 14 position players and 11 pitchers after claiming infielder Luis Valbuena off waivers. Because of an off day on Friday, the Cubs feel they’ll be OK without the extra pitcher at the start. Also, Bryan LaHair is 50-50 to start on Thursday, Opening Day, because of back problems. That decision will be determined prior to Thursday’s game. If LaHair can’t go, either Joe Mather, Blake DeWitt or Jeff Baker will start Thursday at first. The bullpen will be Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo and James Russell.

– Carrie Muskat

15 Comments

Cubs go for 200 years of ineptitude-think 2108 !!!!!!!!

So the Cubs added another IF to the 25-man roster? So they have LaHair, Barney, Castro, Stewart, DeWitt, Baker, Mather and Valbuena for just 4 spots? And only 1 real backup OF, Johnson…
Valbuena…. a career .226 AVG and hitting only .163 with a .196 OBS this spring for Toronto. On top of it all, we got rid of a player (Scales) hitting .188 with a .235 OBS Spring Training. I hope this is not going to be the future Cubs policy… get rid of Bad and bring in Worse.
If they needed another IF, why not give Cardenas a shot? Even for a few days of weeks ’till LaHair is back 100%. Or even better, bring up Campy as the 5th OF and keep Mather strictly as an IF (and as a 6th OF, just in case).

What happened to Rodrigo Lopez? Did the Cubs let him go? Do we have a long man in the bullpen? Thanks.

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Valbuena gives the Cubs a true backup SS for the first time in a couple of years. Barney was the backup SS, and they obviously felt the starting 2B backing up SS was not ideal, even with several utility men who could play 2B. Johnson isn’t alone in the OF anyway. Baker and DeWitt both play OF reasonably well, and Mather is more of an OF anyway (who can play 1B/3B if needed).

There is a very good chance that either Blake, Cardenas or Baker (along with Byrd) will be traded before the deadline anyway (probably for more pitching, especially a LHF bullpen arm) – there have been several teams looking for infield depth. And let’s not forget… LaHair may become a part-time 1B/LF/RF by mid-season to give Rizzo at least a part-time chance. Possibly.

It’s just a waiver claim for a cheap backup defensive shortstop. If they don’t end up having room for him, they’ll just put him back on waivers. They’re going with one less pitcher for the first few weeks (when there are more off days), so it’s not the end of the world. A backup SS is not going to be the difference between 70 and 81 wins for this team (or 81 wins and a playoff spot, if you’re particularly optimisitc). It’s just a temporary replaceable part. Flexibility that allows TheoJed to continue to wheel and deal. No big deal.

Speaking of the one less pitcher, @jay, the man left off the roster was Mr Rodrigo Lopez. He’ll likely have to go through waivers if the Cubs want to keep him (in AAA).

“a true backup SS” who only played 35 games at SS and most of tjhem were in 2009. And if they wanted a true backup at that position, Junior Lake. Some reports say he even has a greater upside than Castro. This move makes no sense at all.
And btw, Lopez won’t go through waivers, he’s with the team in Chicago and will be the 12th pitcher on the roster as the long reliever as soon as they need 12 pitchers.

Junior Lake is most definitely not major-league ready. If they’re not going to start with Rizzo and Jackson who are much closer to ready (or ready…), they are not going to rush Lake.
This is the same argument people have with Castillo. Is it better to use a highly-touted prospect as a backup who sits on the bench, or as a starter in the minors. And btw, Lake won’t start the season at AAA or even AA.
Lopez won’t go through waivers, because I had forgotten he was signed to a Minor League contract. He’s not on the 40, so he’ll just sit tight where he is. The report you’re replying to says that they will start the season with 11 pitchers. If Rizzo gets DL’ed then Lopez will probably get the last spot. That’s why he’s in Chicago. I didn’t say he’d never join the roster, just that they’re STARTING with 11. Next week, they’ll have to get back to 12 (no one goes with only 11 for long anymore).
And when I say “true backup SS”, I’m comparing him to Baker, Cardenas, DeWitt, Mather and anyone else on the roster. Barney is a SS, but backing their SS up with the starting 2B is something they decided against doing again.
I’m not saying this was a great decision, but TheoJed will likely be moving at least one infielder in the first couple of months. And Lake is _nowhere_ near ready to join the Cubs, and would be wasted as a backup on the bench anyway.

That should say Lake “will start the season at AAA or even AA”.
Bleh.

Really…is Valbuena even worth the lengthty debate? The one thing I got out of these respectful comments is the mention of Castillo playing every day in the minors vs. a back up in the majors. Soto isn’t THAT good to command a guaranteed starting job and maybe the Cubs should think outside the box and play both Soto AND Castillo equally? Let them have the 2012 MAJOR LEAGUE season to determine who should be the starting catcher? This way Castillo doesn’t “rust” on the bench and Soto gets a fire lit under his a**. Nothing against Clevenger, I like him and wouldn’t mind seeing him play much more than a back up role. I guess what I would like to see is more of a challenge to Soto for his sake and the team’s sake and at the same time not forsake Castillo in AAA. Also, to consider that Baker and DeWitt (especially) play the outfield reasonably well (compared to Soriano, yes) is the type of reasoning this team does not need. Reasonably well should not be acceptable especially when stressing defense. Keeping DeWitt over a legit defensive outfielder like Campana or Sappelt is very questionable and I can only hope it was done to help a trade happen.

it wasn’t done to make a trade happen… it was down because Campana isn’t ready to produce full time at the big league level. Yes Campana can pinch run with the best of them…. yes Campana is better defensively but you want your best to be the best they can be offensively and serviceable defensively because many times the bench is used to pinch hit. Now if one of the OF goes down to the DL then I could see Campana or Sappelt (or Jackson or whoever is HOT) being brought up to fill in. You send Campana down let him get his confidence back and get back in the swing of things and hope he can make it back to the show… its a good move

I never expected Campana to produce full time at the big league level just to produce late in the game as a pinch runner and a defensive replacement filling an obvious void on this team. I believe with Baker, Mather, Clevenger and Johnson the bench is well supplied with pinch hitters and completley lacks options for base stealing threats and outfiled defense. Regardless of the current starting outfileders going on the DL or not Sveum is limited without a speedster such as Campana (or Sappelt). Serviceable defense for outfielders should only be accepted if the outfielder is extremely offensive, which none are.

well this is weird… word on the street is Campana is in town just in case Lahair has to go on the DL… hmmm looks like someone knows what they are talking about…(being me)

Petrey, I could have sworn you said if an OUTFIELDER goes on the DL. Hmmmm….sounds like someone DOES know what they are talking about (being me) because Hoystein must know the value of Campana otherwise why have the little speedster be on hand? AND…..Stewart’s one out triple would have looked a lot better with Campana pinch running rather than Mather. Game over, we lose and Campana goes unused. The first game of the year and I called the late inning need for speed. Sveum has no options and we have loss number one. Bingo.

Bingo. We need Campana. Who’s idea was it to send Soriano to steal third. My guess is they were hoping for the element of surprise. Heck I was surprised he made it to second.

Thanks for the Bingo nod Cubbie Blue. Nice to know somebody else knows what they are talking about. Campana may or may not have scored the tying run but nobody (well ALMOST nobody) can argue that Campana is faster than Mather thereby at the very least improving the chances of scoring on a contact play while at the same time causing the fielder and the pitcher to feel a little more pressure knowing a speed burner is on third instead of Mather. Not knocking Mather at all, after all he was Sveum’s best option because Johnson was already subbing for Soriano. As I’ve said before, once Johnson is utilized there is ZERO options for creating a run via speed, NONE. Can anybody truly rationalize Sveum choosing Mather over Campana in that situation if he had the choice? No. Campana is in the neighborhood because Hoystein KNOWS the importance of his speed to this team and he is next to be added to the roster regardless if it is an outfielder, infielder or pitcher that is DL’d, demoted, traded or cut. Campana serves a limited role yet that role is more important than having an abundance of infeilders that “serve” as outfielders because they can play “reasonably well”. This is one fine game pitched by Dempster that was taken out of the win column by the limited options Sveum had.
First Wood, which was at least a reasonable option that back-fired but then the lack of speed was the nail in the coffin. DeWitt over Campana? Puhleaze.

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