Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

According to multiple reports, and according to Mike Quade, himself, today Chicago Cubs management – presumably Quade, GM Jim Hendry, Assistant GM Randy Bush, and probably Assistant (to the) GM Greg Maddux – will meet to discuss and pare down the team’s Spring roster, which stands at 39 (40 if you count Angel Guzman, who will not make the team out of Spring). Notable, among the roster discussions, are the following:

  • Quade has said that he and Hendry have already had disagreements about roster decisions.
  • Reed Johnson appears to have won the fifth outfielder job, which would see Fernando Perez optioned to AAA Iowa. Johnson would have to be added to the 40-man roster at some point before the season starts.
  • Darwin Barney appears to have won the backup middle infielder job with a dynamite Spring at the plate and in the field.
  • Moreover, Barney is still in consideration for the starting second baseman job, as is Jeff Baker.
  • As for Blake DeWitt, he’s on the team “right now…but there’s some guys pushing,” said Quade. The guys pushing? Probably utility players Scott Moore and Bobby Scales, each of whom has been excellent this Spring, but each of whom finds himself without a spot on the 25-man roster unless someone like DeWitt doesn’t make the club. I tentatively expect this decision to drag out past today.

  • Similarly, at the backup catcher spot, incumbent Koyie Hill has been a disaster. Welington Castillo, on the other hand, has been superb defensively and out of this world at the plate. Still, Quade has mentioned that the decision may come down to whether the Cubs want Castillo on the bench with the big club, or getting regular at bats as a starter at AAA. That suggests he’s setting us up for a Castillo demotion. The wild card is non-roster invitee Max Ramirez, who has hit adequately this Spring, and whom the Cubs would have to roster if they want to keep. Your tea leaf instructions? If all three remain in camp after today, the Cubs are thinking long and hard about releasing Hill.
  • Jeff Samardzija is a lock for the pen, which leaves the “locks” as Samardzija, Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, and John Grabow. The two remaining spots are expected to go to one lefty among James Russell and Scott Maine, and one of the failed righty starters like Carlos Silva, Todd Wellemeyer or Braden Looper. We’ll probably see something emerging on this front today.

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