Today the Cubs started the very necessary process of paring down the 40-man roster, which, until now, was full. That would be a problem for a team like the Cubs going into the Winter when they obviously need to add several pieces, and need to have some room to play with for the Rule 5 Draft (both in terms of keeping eligible players, and selecting a player if they’d like).

Infielder Adrian Cardenas, starter Jason Berken, and relievers Miguel Socolovich and Marcos Mateo were all de-rostered today, and outrighted to AAA Iowa. That puts the 40-man roster, for now, at 37 (Mateo was on the 60-day DL, so his move doesn’t open up a spot). I won’t pretend to fully understand when players receive the right to refuse an outright assignment (though I do know that one way you get that right is if you’ve been outrighted once before), but I think it’s fair to assume that these four guys passed through waivers, and will not have the option to reject the assignment. Those who do have that right will become free agents if they elect to exercise it.

Cardenas never really got a shot to show what he could do at the big league level (though there’s usually a reason for that), although he raked at Iowa. It would be nice to have him around in 2013 at AAA. He just turned 25 two weeks ago.

Berken and Socolovich were Orioles cast-offs (my how those tables have turned), and neither was particularly impressive in their time with the Cubs. Socolovich has the look of a possibly useful reliever in the future, but Berken didn’t do much of anything with his extended look in the rotation. If they aren’t at AAA for the Cubs next year, they’ll likely be at AAA somewhere else.

Mateo has been on the DL essentially all year with an ongoing elbow problem from which he’s had trouble recovering.

Relatedly, the Cubs lost Anthony Recker today, as the Mets claimed him off of waivers. You’ll recall that the Cubs waived Recker yesterday to make room for newly-added reliever Carlos Guiterrez from the Twins. So much for Recker serving as the back-up-back-up catcher next year.

The Cubs will undoubtedly be making additional roster decisions in the next couple of weeks.

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