Today the Cubs made a number of roster moves, getting close to finalizing the 25-man roster.
Of course, we’ve already noted the most controversial part of today’s cuts: Randy Wells is being sent to AAA Iowa. After some time to digest the move, assuming Wells is able to “get over it,” it’s really a nice option for the Cubs to take. Wells remains stretched out, starting every fifth day, and is available to fill in immediately if the Cubs have an injury or make a trade. And, for all we know, he wasn’t looking great to management as a starter right now, and they don’t believe he’d transition well to the bullpen. On the downside (again, setting aside Wells’ psyche), it’s hard to argue that Wells’ trade value isn’t impacted. He won’t be facing big league competition, and other teams see a guy who “wasn’t even good enough to make the Cubs’ bullpen.” All in all, it’s fine. Things will play out how they’ll play out. And the men pulling the strings know far more than I do about the permutational implications of their decisions.
From there, you also already know about Welington Castillo heading down to AAA Iowa. He’ll be the starting catcher there, which isn’t necessarily a “demotion,” given that he’ll play every day, rather than sit most days.
Today the Cubs also officially cut Travis Wood, whose departure for Iowa has been assumed for quite some time now. He’ll start there, and try and get himself back into a rhythm. The Cubs still believe he’s a future part of the rotation.
The Cubs also sent Casey Coleman to Iowa, which was a modest surprise (in light of Wells not being placed in the bullpen, that is). He’ll presumably remain a starter, but I’d still like to see what he could do as a one-inning reliever. Scott Maine also heads down, which would have been a surprise a week ago, but it’s looked like, for some time, that the Cubs were going to start the year with only James Russell in the bullpen from the left-handed side.
Also cut were outfielder Dave Sappelt, infielders Matt Tolbert and Edgar Gonzalez, reliever Blake Parker, and catcher Blake Lalli. None was a surprise. Sappelt will probably see time in the bigs at some point this year as a reserve outfielder, depending on trades and health in the big league outfield.
Interestingly, Tony Campana remains in camp, despite the Cubs’ acknowledgement that Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather will make the roster. That’s two bench spots there, and Clevenger gets a third, with the other two presumably going to Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker. Why not cut Campana today, unless there’s at least a tiny thought being given either to cutting Johnson or trading Baker (after all, they can keep playing him in big league Spring Training games after they cut him)? There actually could be a reason, but I suppose I just don’t know what it is. Either way, no one presently expects Campana to make the roster out of Spring Training.
At present, the bullpen remains unresolved, with Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, James Russell and (probably) Rafael Dolis locked in. Among the guys still fighting for the other three spots: Shawn Camp, Manny Corpas, Frankie De La Cruz, Rodrigo Lopez, and Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo. Marcos Mateo is still in camp, but he’s been shut down with elbow problems, and will probably soon be transferred to the 60-day DL to open up a 40-man spot.