Bouncing Another Player from the 40-Man Roster and Other Bullets

The Super Bowl is here, which, to me, means only that there will be no more football to watch for six months. Worse, no baseball games for a month (to the day, actually), and no meaningful baseball games for two months. This is the worst sports time of the year for some of us.

  • The Cubs have yet to announce the signing of Cuban lefty pitcher Gerardo Concepcion because he hasn’t yet passed a physical. Nobody seems particularly concerned that he won’t pass, so I’m not concerned either.
  • Once his deal is announced, we’ll get to play the who-gets-bounced-from-the-40-man-roster game again. Erstwhile reliever Marcos Mateo has been my guess for a some time now, so I would seem a fool to change it now. Then again, here’s the thing: by this time of year, when more and more rosters are set, it can be a little easier to sneak a low upside vet (like an Andy Sonnanstine, for example) through waivers than a high upside younger guy like Mateo (no need to point out that Sonnanstine is just a year older than Mateo – huge difference in service time). That is all to say, I have no idea how the Cubs might approach opening up a roster spot. I strongly suspect that, when they had to do this two times before (Jeff Bianchi, who was claimed by the Brewers, and Manny Corpas, who made it through waivers), the Cubs were trying to pull off a trade, rather than risk losing a player for nothing. I think that’s probably happening again. Maybe trading someone like Blake DeWitt for a low-level prospect?
  • Some prognosticators now think the Los Angeles Dodgers sale will meet or exceed $2 billion(!!!). Here’s hoping the Ricketts family doesn’t get any thoughts about flipping the Cubs – whom they bought for a mere $845 million in 2009 – for a handsome profit. Instead, here’s hoping the absurd price for the Dodgers increases the theoretical value of the Cubs to such an extent that the Ricketts feel even more confident about spending freely on facility upgrades, improved staff, payroll, etc.
  • The Tribune takes a look at the best and worst free agent contracts of the offseason, and I agree with almost all of them across the board. The Cubs appear just once, in the “best” column, for their two-year, $10 million signing of right fielder David DeJesus (plus a team option in 2014). And that’s spot on, isn’t it? As the offseason has gone on, that contract looks better and better. And if DeJesus rebounds, like most think he will?
  • Theo Epstein rightly wanted Curtis Granderson when the Tigers made him available before the 2010 season, believing that the outfielder could take yet another step forward (he did), but refused to give up Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz (also rightly).
  • The owner of the Idaho Stampede (an NBA development league team in Boise) is not crazy about the city footing the bill for new facilities for the Boise Hawks, the Cubs’ Low-A affiliate. You may recall that Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts visited Boise late last year and came away with the impression that the facilities – which, if memory serves, haven’t been seriously renovated in decades – were in need of dramatic upgrading or replacement. The city appears to be on board, but the Idaho Stampede owner appears to prefer those funds be used on citywide projects instead. This is just an example of the times, and the difficult job that lays ahead of the Cubs on the business side.
  • Fluff on Epstein, Hoyer, and the Cubs’ future from Tracy Ringolsby, if you haven’t yet had your fill of this kind of narrative, or of cowboy hats.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

85 responses to “Bouncing Another Player from the 40-Man Roster and Other Bullets”

  1. Jay Anderson Jr

    You got basketball, and because of the lockout, non-stop basketball. My timberwolves are playing good and of course, Lebron(my fav player) is beasting. MVP3 for him. K-Love in second place.

    Plus, I’m from Tobacco Road, ACC Country. We got Duke, Carolina, My N.C. State Wolfpack, and Wake Forest. This is the best time of the year.

  2. Kyle

    If I understand correctly, the Dodgers are going for significantly more because the package includes:

    1) 100% of the team, not the old owner keeping on to a small share
    2) A lot of valuable real estate surrounding the park
    3) A long-term, lucrative TV rights deal

    If the Cubs had included all those, they would have gone for comparable value.

  3. Clark Addison

    November through mid February is like the Sahara desert. No sports activity worth watching. Lukewarm stove is all that keeps me going.

  4. Toosh

    I agree about the worst time of the year being after the Super Bowl and before baseball starts. Also read somewhere else that Sunandshine might be the one to go for Concepcion.

  5. Jason

    Or the best time of year according to my wife……the week of no sports distractions between the super bowl and when pitchers and catchers report.

  6. Zach Rodgers

    It is a rough time for sports but there is still Hockey! Blackhawks baby!!! Oh yeah and the bulls! It can get us through a month.

  7. ferrets_bueller

    The only thing that could make this time of the sports year worse, and does, is the non-stop stream of pointless NBA and NCAA basketball highlights on pretty much any sports show.  I have absolutely no desire to see any of them.  The NBA is a complete and utter joke.  Its far closer to professional wrestling than an actual sport.

    1. oswego chris

      your pro-wrestling comment is dead on…NBA basketball is the most worthless sport…46 and a half minutes of the game are pointless….Baseball, Hockey, Football all blow it away….

      1. ferrets_bueller

        I’d rather watch NASCAR, lmfao.

        The NBA could become tolerable again if they’d begin, ya know….actually enforcing the rules and making calls across the board? Its a complete sham as it stands, and Stern’s manipulation of the rosters makes it even worse.  When the officiating of the game is intended not to make the playing fair, but to increase the effectiveness and stats of players arbitrarily deemed to be ‘stars,’ then is it, in pretty much literal fact, on the same level as professional wrestling.

      2. Stinky Pete

        Haha. That’s what my dad always said. “They should just run back and forth with out a ball for 46 minutes then play the last two minutes.”

  8. MichiganGoat

    Ah for me November-February is the worse time. Snow, no baseball, and little sunshine makes MG something, something…

    At least I have beer to keep me from going crazy.

    1. Katie

      Yes, I agree. I can’t stand the NBA and don’t care much about college hoops so this time of hear us damn near unbearable. At least we can all suffer together on Bleacher Nation!

  9. Noah

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Theo and Jed want DeWitt to win the starting 2B spot comig out of spring training this year. He still has significantly higher upside than Barney, although Barney is significantly better defensively. DeWitt does at least have the capability to hit double digit home runs I given a full season a Wrigley, and considering how much Theo and Jed are emphasizing power from the left side of the plate, he could be their top choice for the position. Barney is also much better suited to be a backup middle infielder.

    1. MichiganGoat

      I’ve been watching and waiting for DeWitt to but it together but it just doesn’t seem to be happening.

      1. npnovak

        idk…his numbers were very similar to barney’s last year. it’s just like trading some defense for more power. i think they’ll be in competition to start at 2nd

        1. Noah

          I agree they’ll be in competition to start at 2B, but I don’t think they were comparable offensively. DeWitt had the lower OBP by a very slight amount, but slugged MUCH higher. DeWitt has also shown the capability to draw walks in the past, and had a higher wOBA. I also don’t think Barney is as good offensively as his overall 2011 numbers indicate, as he was really terrible offensively after the first month when pitchers adjusted by hammering him in with hard stuff.
          -
          With that said, they should go into spring training with an open competition there, I just think Theo and Jed would prefer for Blake DeWitt to win the job.

          1. Kyle

            I don’t think you should ever have a competition for a job in spring training. You have the players’ whole careers to evaluate and project. 25 semi-competitive workouts shouldn’t sway you one way or the other.

            Blake Dewitt is a terrible defensive 2b, and if Barney can stay within 100 OPS points of him, that should be close enough for his defense up the middle to make up the difference.

            The question, of course, is if Barney can even do that. I can live with his .666 OPS from last year, but my optimism that he can repeat that is probably a bit unwarranted. There’s not much in his minor-league track record that says he can even maintain that unambitious offensive level.

            1. Pat

              Completely agree on the concept of “winning the job in spring training”. 20 innings pitched or 50 at bats should not be influential in roster construction. The only exception I would make is for the 11th or 12th pitcher. Bullpen guys are notoriously inconsistent and in the case of the last couple of relievers I don’t mind the idea of going with the hot hand.

            2. DocWimsey

              Whitey Herzog said it best years ago: never judge players based on September or spring training.

              1. BetterNews

                What does that mean, exactly?

              2. BetterNews

                Also, did Whitey Herzog ever really say that?

                1. DocWimsey

                  Yeah, he did back in the 1980′s. Herzog didn’t give much credence to performances by rookies in September or spring training when those numbers were out-of-whack with their minor league performances (for good or ill). And, let’s face it: in the vast majority of cases, those do not add up to much.

              3. art

                part of ST is to see what you have in a rookie, is he ready or not.

                1. BetterNews

                  Absolutely!

            3. Noah

              I’d say that it should be a very rare occurrence for jobs to be decided during spring training, but would agree that it should NEVER come down to who puts up the best numbers in the spring training games. Too small of sample size, the Cactus League is a hitters league that doesn’t reward patience, etc.
              -
              When I say there should be competition in spring training, I’d only put it at a place where you have two very flawed players. And, again, I would place very little weight on performance in spring training games. But where you are looking for players with such extreme flaws like DeWitt and Barney to have taken a step forward, throughout the totality of spring training the coaches should be able to at least make a decent guess as to who appears to be the better player.

          2. BetterNews

            DeWitt is on the trading block.

            1. KCubsfan

              Everyone on the team is avaliable for the right price.

              1. BetterNews

                Not true my friend.

              2. BetterNews

                Why do I say this? Example: I have GOOD job and I enjoy it and am making $50,000. Do I leave to make $65,000 somewhere else? I would not! Money sometimes does not matter.

                1. KCubsfan

                  Your example only works for Free Agency. Lets give you a better example Seattle offers you King Felix for Garza do you take it? Yes because it makes your team better. I know you wont like to hear this but players are assets. That how they have to be looked at and they understand that, its a business. If that wasnt the Case Cliff Lee would have never been traded to the Rangers. Every player can be bought (traded) for the right price.

                  1. BetterNews

                    No I don’t like to hear that kind of stuff. If it were strictly business Kerry Wood would not be on the team this year.

                    1. KCubsfan

                      That to was a business move Wood is the example of what a Major Leaguer and the Cubs see him as a player/coach type. He is a player the younger players can look up to and show them what it means to be a Cub. This was not a move because he was a great player because he isnt any more but, he is a mentor. Sorry its a business and you do what you have to as a manger (or GM) to put your team in the best position to win when your ready to win. It is how this works.

  10. Michael R

    Just a question.
    What happens to a guy when he is bounced from the 40 man roster?
    Does he go to a specific minor league squad or is he waived from the organization?
    What happens?

    1. MichiganGoat

      He goes on waivers if he passes through waivers as Corpas did he can be reassigned.

  11. Jay Anderson Jr

    The NBA is by far the best sports league in the USA. The NFL and their slave driver, Roger Goddell, MLB, as much as I love the Cubs, has a commish that’s scared to make any legitimate decision, ranging from Theo Comp to letting Pete Rose in the hall, and hockey, well its hockey. NBA is the most competive league in sports.

    Plus, if you grew up in N.C., less then 45 minutes in either direction, from either of those 4 major school, you would love college basketball too.

    1. ferrets_bueller

      The NBA is the most competitive league?  What? Maybe if you’re one of the blessed few teams, that all the bandwagon fans jump on, like Miami…but there are a significant amount of teams that might as well not even exist.  The league has easily the least amount of parity of all, and with the ‘star’ talent being intentionally, with the blessing and support, and sometimes manipulation of the commish, being consolidated into even fewer teams, the league is even less and less competitive.

      Since David Stern became the league’s commissioner in 1984, only eight franchises have won the NBA championship

    2. cls

      Funny, I feel the opposite. I feel the NBA is the worst organization and sports league. It is extremely dysfunctional, large market teams dominate the poor hapless small market teams, and they don’t even adhere to the rules of their own game (saw LeBron take an EIGHT step crab walk around the hoop….and draw a foul. Garbage).

      I have March Madness to get me through the post Football, pre Baseball times, as well as the Blackhawks.

    3. Boogens

      “MLB, as much as I love the Cubs, has a commish that’s scared to make any legitimate decision, ranging from Theo Comp to letting Pete Rose in the hall”

      What? In no way am I a schill for Bud Selig but I have to call BS on that comment. Pete Rose in fact is not in the hall of fame, so that in itself is a decision. You may not like or agree with it but it is a conscious decision.

      To classify him as indecisive is inaccurate. I can point to many decisions he has made, most of which I completely disagree with like the All Star game deciding home field advantage for the WS, forcing the Astros into the AL, and pushing through the changes to the amatuer draft which severely limit the over-slotting strategy, that demonstrate my point. The fact that you may disagree with his decisions doesn’t negate the fact that he made them. He just made poor decisions in my opinion.

  12. colocubfan

    The presence of DeWitt is what makes me leary of trading Garza. When the Dodgers gave up DeWitt for Ted Lilly, the Dodger fans were crying about giving up their future second baseman for a short term pitcher. (Lilly re-signed with them, but at the time it looked that way).
    DeWitt has yet to develop into what everybody thought he would. That’s the biggest problem with “prospects”. There are so many of them who never are able to make that next step. As much as I really support what Theo and Co. are doing, I would prefer that Garza gets signed to a long term deal, rather than be traded for hopefuls. Quality starting pitching it too hard to come by.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

    1. ferrets_bueller

      Thats not necessarily true.  The Dodger fans who were saying that were still clinging on to what Dewitt had looked like when he was drafted, and ignoring what he had done in the minors and majors prior it it.  The Cubs knew they were getting what was most likely an average player.  In a Garza trade, you would not be getting a Blake Dewitt back as a main piece- you’d be nuts to trade for a guy who’s stock had fallen all the way to average.

    2. Chaz

      You are seriously comparing Dewitt to Turner and Nick C.
      Dewitt never showed in the minors that he was an above average player. If anything it looked like his MLB career would be just average, or maybe just above average.
      Turner has great upside, 1 or 2 starter with very little downside.
      Nick C is very young but at 6’4″ and around 200lbs, he has the tools to be a great 3b in the future. Like with all prospects, anything can happen but don’t compare them to Dewitt

      1. colocubfan

        I never said that. I was just using that as an example of what can happen when you trade established players for hopefuls.

        1. ferrets_bueller

          But DeWitt wasn’t a hopeful- he was established. As an average player.

          1. die hard

            Dewitt could be top utility player on Cubs as he can play all inf and corner of positions plus I believe he has some catching exp….decent enough bat in this role and team has nobody else for this role at this time…so I vote keep him

            1. loyal100more

              im gonna have to agree that. dewitts versatility make him very valuable to the team, and can be mildly productive in the line up. with all the ? in the infield dewitt becomes an even more important piece to hang on to. i think trading him would be irresponsible for a team such as ours that without a doubt will need to do some adjusting in the infield over the coarse of the season.

            2. ferrets_bueller

              That really….has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation.

              At all.

              1. loyal100more

                oh…okay….ferrets right then. is that better. sorry for the 5 cents. oh yea and he is established and yes average, your right. really sorry to elaborate anything.

                1. ferrets_bueller

                  I don’t know if you took that wrong, it was meant to be at Die Hard. Your response to his is correct, its just that his had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation. We weren’t talking about moving Dewitt, or even dewitt as a Cub. We were talking about the Dodgers trading DeWitt in relation to prospective garza trades.

                  1. MichiganGoat

                    And there you go trying to apply logic to die hard’s comments, silly ferret.

                    1. ferrets_bueller

                      Its like…you’re discussing the alphabet, and he runs in and starts shouting 4!! FOURR!! FOUR!! THE NEXT LETTER IS 4!!!

                    2. MichiganGoat

                      Perfect analogy

              2. loyal100more

                oh, okay… sorry ferrets… boy did i get defensive. maybe i should switch to decaf.

        2. DocWimsey

          But you also have to take what Dodgers’ fans were saying with a big grain of salt. In every fanbase, there is a big contingent that holds that winning with your farm is “the right way” and that any farmhand you trade away is “trading the future.” Sure, Dewitt really was not that good: but “lot’s of guys” blossom late, right?

          At any rate, outside of those type of Dodgers fans, nobody ever valued Dewitt as much as some people value Turner, Smyly or Castellanos.

          1. ferrets_bueller

            Yep.

            See: Barney, Darwin. Section: Unrealistic Fans.

            1. Quintz

              Darwin Barney is the Doug Dascenzo of the infield and weird Cub fan expectations.

              1. MichiganGoat

                but can he pitch? Dougie was flawless when he pitched.

              2. ferrets_bueller

                See: Campana, Tony. Section: Tiny Toothpick OFs

    3. Kyle

      The problem is that major-league players aren’t exactly sure bets to keep doing what they’ve done either.

      I’m especially skeptical of Garza, who had a much better year last year than anything he’s ever put forward before, based in part on a major change in pitch selection. The Plexiglass Principle is looming for him.

  13. die hard

    If the Cubs are going to sign Cespedes then decision on 40 man roster may involve 2 spots. Could the Cubs drop Soriano and see what happens?

    1. ferrets_bueller

      …..are you honestly insinuating that someone would claim Soriano?

      1. die hard

        I believe that doing this will find out who is interested…..dont Cubs have 48 hrs to negotiate or keep him?…just saying its a fish or cut bait moment that may pay dividends, thats all

        1. Quintz

          Like my 54 million dollar chair, nobody would be interested, and no matter what, they have to pay him full salary.

        2. hansman1982

          I believe waivers on the way to the minors work differently than August waivers – the Cubs have no say in the matter if a team were to claim a guy off waivers right now and the new team would take that player on, contract and all.

          In August, it is trade waivers and at that time the Cubs would get 48 hours to negotiate with the claiming team or pull him back all together

      2. die hard

        what if nobody claims him…is he then a FA?…if so, he can retire and collect checks from Cubs or see what hes worth on market….say, a team offers to pay him $1 mil/yr as DH…then Cubs would be on hook for balance….just saying would be way for market to try to solve this impasse cause appears Cubs having hard time doing so…

        as for Goat setting bar so high that only he and ferret can post here, be careful for what you wish for cause then its just you and ferret….Id bet on a ferret over a goat in a fight anytime…

        1. hansman1982

          It would mean that, if his contract allows for it, the Cubs could send him to the minors. Odds are, Soriano’s contract would only allow a stint in the minors due to a rehab assignment and it would effectively kill any trade value Soriano has.

          The only way Soriano is going somewhere is if the Cubs write a check that has a 5 and a 4 followed by 6 zeros.

          1. BetterNews

            Yikes! Did you have to remind me?

        2. Quintz

          It would really do nothing other than confuse everyone. Releasing him wouldn’t be some kind of loophole (or they would have done it).

    2. Quintz

      Putting Soriano on waivers would be like putting an old beat up chair on the curb with a 54 million dollar price tag on it.

  14. MichiganGoat

    Sure but they would still have to pay him or the team that claims him would have to pay him. A solution neither team wants to do, the Cubs would like to save a few million vs. just cutting him and continue to pay him.

  15. ferrets_bueller

    Well, I got my answer to my “Is prior going to try one more comeback again?” question from a couple days ago:
    “Mark Prior is also looking to attempt one more comeback. The right-hander, who spent some of last season with the Yankees, had surgery for a sports hernia and the problem isn’t completely corrected. Like Webb, Prior could work out for teams as early as March.”
    -MLBTR

    I couldn’t believe it when he got hurt again last season. Hopefully he can actually make it to the Majors this year.

    1. Stinky Pete

      Is it worth a minor league contract? Oh yeah. Will he ever make the autographed jersey worth the $170 I paid for it? Nah. Probably not.

    2. DocWimsey

      For all sad words of tongue and pen….

  16. loyal100more

    speaking of pete rose… did you know that derrick jeter at age 37, has 22 more hits than rose did at the same age?

    1. DocWimsey

      And speaking of Derek Jeter…. Here is an example of how different Yankee expecations are from what Cubs expectations have been. There is a bit of a debate over whether Jeter or Gardner should bat leadoff. One of the things held against Jeter? He now is a free swinger with no plate discipline.

      Except that even in his decline, Jeter’s isoD is still 0.06. Now, that is a far cry from Jeter’s peak, when he was frequently around 0.10: but that is darned good relative to most of the guys that the Cubs have batted #1 over the last 10 years!

      Too bad he’s such a smarmy git……

    2. Stinky Pete

      Soooooooooo, Jeter might catch Rose if he keeps playing until he’s 46 or whatever?

      1. DocWimsey

        Well, Jeter also would have to halt his decline and then postpone the “big one.” One thing that Rose had in common with Aaron is that neither of them fell into steep decline until after they were 40. Rose managed a .325/.391/.390 line in his age 40 season. He then managed 172 hits the next season before turning into a part-time player.

        Most guys see their batting eyes disappear fairly abruptly in their mid-late 30′s, and thus have their “paces” become meaningless. We do not know that this will happen to Jeter: but the odds are in favor of it.

        And, man, can you see what SS abilities will be like at 46??? ;-)

        1. loyal100more

          jeter would have to manage just over 150 hits for the next 7 years to even reach 4000. i dont think hell get much more than 3500. its just an interesting thing to reflect on. and like you said the amount of hits that rose was able to get was more about his continued ability to be effective after he turned 40, which in its self is huge and contributes more to the over all haul. its a special mix of longevity and than prolonged productivity. also the premium defensive position that jeter plays probably will become a factor long before his plate productivity.

  17. cubsin

    My nominees for the potentailly-needed three roster spots are:

    1. Lendy Castillo, the Rule 5 draftee we’d probably not keep anyway,

    2. Andy Sonnenstine, who probably wouldn’t be claimed.

    3. Marcus Mateo, who might make it through waivers.

    If we could turn those three and a huge stack of the Ricketts’ dollars into the three Cubans, we’d have had a good winter.

    1. Quintz

      As Seinfeld taught me, just make sure they aren’t Dominicans dressed in Cuban clothing.

  18. KCubsfan

    BetterNews,
    Just because you dont like hearing these things doesnt mean they arent true. If baseball lived in your little world there would never be any blockbuster trades and everyone would stay on their teams. It a nice thought but its not reality.

    1. BetterNews

      Don’t know what I was thinking!(LoL)

      1. KCubsfan

        Like I have told you before I am not against or for trading anyone. I am a Cubs fan I am not an individual player fan. I am for what ever will bring the Cubs a better chance of bring a World Series Champion back to Chicago.

        1. Brady

          Personally I dont object to trades when they are for the benefit of the team, however I would like to see athletes that stuck with a team for a reason other than a massive paycheck. I never get a player jersey because you never know if they are going to be there from year to year. I find that disheartening as I would love to get a player jersey. Take the better Cardinals for example (Arizona), I have a Larry Fitzgerald jersey because a.) he is a beast b.) he is a really nice team player that isnt high and mighty about himself and c.) because apparently some jerk took my last name and I dont want to hear the insisent commenting about how he doesnt play for my team or that isnt his number (Last name Brady by the way so take a guess). I am happy because he signed a long term contract that will keep him in Arizona for the rest of his career (which at the moment looks very hall of fame worthy). I am happy that I will get a long life out of my jersey and get to go to the game not to just cheer for an ambiguous bunch of dudes dressed in my teams uniform and dont truly care about what the team does other than the fact that they are getting paid by said team, but also to cheer for individual players who become the face of a team. Football I would say keeps their stars a lot more than baseball, mainly because they are prized and hard to reaquire. Still, I like cheering for players because they make the team. I never want to have a player like Ben Rothesburger or Michael Vick because I do not like them as people, regardless of how talented. That’s just me though.