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After swirling and conflicting reports yesterday with respect to the final makeup of the Chicago Cubs’ pitching staff, the verdict is in: Andrew Cashner will open the season as the Cubs’ fifth starter, and Marcos Mateo – not Carlos Silva – will grab the final bullpen spot.

What this means for Silva remains to be seen, but, according to Carrie Muskat, the Cubs intend to trade Silva. If that’s not possible, they’ll ask Silva to accept an assignment to AAA Iowa where he will serve as insurance.

As for Cashner, the Cubs have wanted him to grab the fifth starter spot all Spring, and if he’s going to be the guy, I’m quite pleased they announced it before his start today, so he can work on whatever he deems most important (rather than try to perform his best).

Mateo, who turns 27 in a couple weeks, has been impressive this Spring (though mostly in late innings against minor leaguers), holding a 1.29 ERA over seven innings. He’s allowed just six baserunners and struck out nine.

  • greg

    Woohoo! Cubs making a roster decision not motivated by salary!

  • jstraw

    Ok, so maybe Hendry still has a firing synapse.

  • TWC

    What the…? Did the Cubs just get some sanity?

    Amazing. I’m not sure what team this is anymore…

  • Bric

    I still think the Yanks will take him if the Cubs eat four of the eight mil remaining on his contract. If so, maybe Hendry could get a kid named Shane Brown from them (and my old college UCF). He hasn’t done anything in the minors yet but he pounded the ball in school and plays excellent defense. Just hopin’.

    • jstraw

      Getting anything for him would be fine. I don’t think the Cubs even owe Silva all the rest of his money. Seattle’s still paying a chunk of it, aren’t they?

      • Ace

        Yes (though they paid their portion in advance (last year), so it’s kind of like the Cubs are paying it all now).

  • Steve

    Pleasantly surprised. But…..I can see Silva adopting a VERY bad attitude, and very quickly. If his off-season prediction of a rotation spot is any indication, he is going to very hard to live with. Iowa? I really can’t see him heading to AAA with any semblance of the happy camper mindset. It’s also a little troubling that we haven’t heard from Silva, yet. I sense so very measured words will be forthcoming.

    • Ace

      It appears your predictive powers are excellent, Steve.

  • Larry

    If the Cubs can’t trade him (which is be a real possibility) and Silva refuses to go to Iowa, couldn’t the Cubs put him on the restricted list? Rather than releasing him and letting sit on his fat butt and collect a huge pay check, make him come and clean the stadium or scrub out the locker rooms to get his money. If he wants to act like a jerk make him earn his $$$. I know it will never happen, but his attitude, especially after having had 3 really poor seasons in the past 4 years, is inexplicable. If he were as good as he thinks he is, he would be much better than a career 500 pitcher.

    • BT

      I don’t think so. I think it’s his right to refuse an assignment to AAA. The collective bargaining rules mandate that the Cubs release him if he refuses assignment.

      • Ace

        Yes, he has the right to refuse a minor league assignment as a 5+ year veteran. If he does, he’s essentially released.

        • Larry

          I realize that he does. I was just saying it would be funny to treat him with the respect he has earned instead of with what he thinks he has earned.

  • Steve

    Thanks, Ace. But, I’m sure a lot of folks saw this coming. For my money, I think Silva did, too. A lot of times, people believe they can make things happen if they keep repeating the same phrases over, and over. Silva isn’t stupid, just stubborn. I think he saw the writing on the wall. He kept telling us all that he was a rotation lock. I think he eventually started buying into his own bullshit. His problem now? Finding work. There will be no trade partner. His release is eminent. Although, Ol’ Jimmy found a sucker to take on Milton Bradley. Anything is possible.

    • Ace

      Indeed. Even if a trade partner comes along, the Cubs will receive nothing worth smiling about. The smiles will be due solely to Silva’s departure.

      • Dan0mite

        I don’t see how any team would trade for him, not because of his talent or attitude, but because every team knows he is gonna get released. Once the Cubs release him a team can grab him cheap and not give up a thing.

  • Dave

    I have this unsettling feeling that one of the disagreements was Hendry wanting to dump Silva and Quade wanting to keep him.

    • Ace

      Or Quade wanted to dump him, Hendry disagreed, and Quade won.

      • greg

        This seems WAY more likely

        • Bric

          Agreed. Quade only cares about winning, not salaries or contracts or lost money. That’s Hendry’s problem. At 54 he’s gotta think this is his best (last?) chance at establishing himself as as a big league manager so putting the best team on the field is his only concern. As for Hendry, there’s a reason why presidents are only allowed to serve for eight years.

      • jeff

        I can’t see many scenarios that would include Hendry and/or Ricketts wanting to cut Silva rather than trade or use him. 6 million dollars is hard to walk away from, maybe we should thank the Mets for making it okay to dump bad investments with only immediate short term consequences.

        I like the way the final roster shook out. I can see why they went with Johnson over Perez, although I think Perez’ speed would have been an added dimension. I was actually starting to think that Castillo had a shot at unseating Hill, but his injured finger probably does him in.

        Is it crazy to be more excited for this season coming off last year’s crappy season than I was coming back from either of the last two playoff teams’ follow up years?

        • Ace

          There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this season, even if you don’t think the Cubs are going to win it all. I’m really excited to see Castro’s development, to see if Cashner can do it, to see what kind of year Pena has. I’m also more excited about seeing the progress of a number of prospects than I can ever remember being. The Cubs’ system is so deep it’s absurd. I literally could not list all of the guys I’m excited to follow.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    whats up with max ramirez?? hes truly out hit and put performed koyie hill!! i say the cubs send hill down to aaa iowa where he can learn how to hit…i love wellington castillo as well…but max ramirez has showed he belongs on this roster! as far as silva goes…hes washed up!.. i hope we can get something out of him…well see

    • Ace

      See the new post… unfortunately.

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