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As has been discussed here before over the last few weeks, the Cubs have a relatively crowded 40-man roster. Sure, they pared it a bit at the end of the season with a number of removals, but with so many young players (including many who had to be prematurely added to the 40-man roster like Jorge Soler, Gerardo Concepcion, Junior Lake, and Matt Szczur), the Cubs still face a number of difficult decisions as they construct their roster for next season.

The most immediate obstacle is the Rule 5 Draft. As Luke addressed last week, the Cubs have several interesting young players who will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft on December 6 if they are not added to the 40-man roster later this month. Further, free agents are going to start signing any day now, and 40-man roster spots could go quickly if the Cubs want to be in on their prime targets.

When you add it all up, you can see that the Cubs may have an issue when that Rule 5 roster date rolls around, unless they clear another spot or two and wait to sign any free agents until after the Rule 5 Draft (which they may not be able to do, depending on when their desired free agents are looking to sign). At best, without any additional roster moves, it’s looking like the Cubs will risk losing a player or two that they’d like not to lose.

I don’t want to overstate the Rule 5 Draft risk. Even in the Cubs’ situation, if they were unable to protect a single additional player, they are not likely to lose any future superstars. Yes, it would suck to lose Logan Watkins or Nick Struck or Trey McNutt or Christian Villanueva. But they aren’t likely to lose a future core piece (they wouldn’t risk it), and heck, the players might come back if they can’t stick on a big league roster next year.

Even if I ignore the Rule 5 risk, and say that isn’t a motivating factor in making these difficult roster decisions, here’s what is a motivating factor: if the 40-man is already at 36, and want to add at least two starting pitchers and a center fielder, probably a third baseman, probably a reliever or two, probably a Rule 5 selection of their own (they pick second), and possibly a veteran back-up catcher to pair with Welington Castillo … well, you can see why they’ll need to clear space no matter what.

Below is a pictorial representation of the Cubs’ 40-man roster as it exists today. In green, you have the virtual locks to remain on the 40-man throughout the Winter. Obviously you never say never with this front office, but they are the guys whom we are all expected to be on the team at the start of 2013.

In blue, you have the players who are likely to be with the team in 2013, and thus likely to be on the roster until after the Rule 5 Draft (but some of whom could be legitimate trade candidates for most of the offseason).

In yellow, you have the players who have too much value to risk losing for nothing in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, but who could be traded before then in order to open up a spot (I’m not saying these guys are likely to be dealt (in most cases, they aren’t) – I’m saying only that they have too much value to risk losing for nothing, but not so much value that they are presumed members of the 2013 roster). These demarcations aren’t perfect.

And in red, you have the players that the Cubs could – and in some cases should – risk de-rostering. By removing them from the 40-man roster, the players could depart via a waiver claim or free agency, depending on their individual situation; but such is the difficulty of the pre-Rule-5-Draft roster dance.

Some notes:

  • I’ve said for some time now that it’s hard to see the Cubs not trying to make a move with a guy like Junior Lake or Matt Szczur sooner rather than later. Neither is a lock to contribute to the big club in 2013, which means a couple blocked up 40-man spots, and another option year used up by each. Perhaps there is a team out there that would be better situated to bear that minor burden for a year (or that is willing to give them a shot next year). Can the Cubs really put together a deal in the next couple weeks, though?
  • Gerardo Concepcion is a tough one, and was almost a red. While I am by no means interested in giving up on him as a prospect based on one adjustment-and-mono-filled half-season, I do wonder whether his contract (on which he’s still owed some $3 to $5 million, depending on how his signing bonus is being paid out) would make him sufficiently unattractive that he could clear waivers if he were outrighted off the 40-man roster. I tend to doubt it, in which case the Cubs would have to ask themselves whether they’re willing to risk losing him for nothing (nothing but salary relief, that is). We also don’t know the details of his contract, which may preclude this kind of maneuvering.
  • Because the Cubs picked up Carlos Gutierrez and Zach Putnam after the season and knowing these decisions were going to be coming, I’m assuming the Cubs are planning to keep them.
  • Chris Rusin as red and Brooks Raley as yellow is a really fine distinction, but I suppose I see just a bit more upside in Raley. I tentatively expect both to stick on the roster, though.
  • With the Cubs looking to pick up a veteran catcher (well, if they aren’t, they should be), Steve Clevenger becomes expendable. There are some very nice aspects to his game, and he could be a decent back-up in the future. But when it comes time to make difficult decisions, you don’t really hang your hat on “could be a decent back-up catcher in the future.”
  • Many of these designations are debatable. The point here is less about drawing hard lines, and more about pointing out the areas where the conversation becomes difficult. Some of these guys are probably going to have to go.
  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I’m not sure I see the need for a veteran backup catcher. I’d be content going into the season with Castillo and Clevenger.

    If the Cubs aren’t going to protect Watkins, they need to deal him now. There is no chance he will make it through the Rule 5 draft, and I would think he could bring back an organizational top 15ish pitching prospect with potential upside that the Cubs can develop for a few more years (or be a nice sweetener in a larger deal). I’d rather roster him and let him compete with Barney in spring training with an eye on dealing one of the two at the deadline, but if there isn’t room on the roster, then there isn’t room on the roster.

    • fromthemitten

      I agree, if they do sign a backup it should be on a minor league contract with a chance to compete with Cleavenger for the job

  • ruby2626

    Glad to see Clevenger is in the red. If my memory and math are correct didn’t he go on the DL early in the year when he was an incredible 14 for 28 on the year. Back out the hot start and he hit .152 in his remaining 171 at bats. I wouldn’t be shocked if someone grabbed him but wouldn’t really be overly disappointed if someone did.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I think a case could be made for derostering LaHair and Campana as well. Neither has a future with the Cubs and neither is valuable enough to be a notable trade piece. I’d be surprised to see Campana be offered more than a minor league deal and a spring training invite with any team.

    • MichiganGoat

      Absolutely agree they have been given their chance and haven’t proved that they can contribute in a sustainable and consistent manner. They should be the last people we protect.

      • cheryl

        I agree that LaHair should be derostered (Surprised?). But if he does land with another team I’d like to see him used in a consstent manner, whether it’s as a pinch hitter or whatever, This was his first year so-to-speak and I believe many veterans would have had trouble going in or out of the lineup and remain a consistent hitter (although he doesn’t hit lefties)..

  • calicubsfan007

    What is the Green color’s meaning? I am sure I missed it, but I couldn’t find the explanation for that one.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “In green, you have the virtual locks to remain on the 40-man throughout the Winter. Obviously you never say never with this front office, but they are the guys whom we are all expected to be on the team at the start of 2013.”

      • calicubsfan007

        Oh crap. Sorry Brett. But why isn’t Barney green? The trade rumors around him seem to really not be anything more than rumors and he is more valuable for us here than in a trade.

    • calicubsfan007

      Is that pretty much their no way in hell/ over my dead body that we would lose him kind of players? I mean Rizzo and Castro are green, so I guess that is what it is. Why is Barney not Green? I think he is being too undervalued.

  • MightyBear

    I would still try and deal Marmol and Soriano for prospects and salary relief. I would cut Stewart, Clevenger and Coleman and try and keep all three. I wouldn’t trade Lake or Sczcur. I would take Concepcion off the 40 man roster if I could and keep him. That would free up six spots.

    • MightyBear

      Actually, I would cut Jacob Brigham and re sign him. No one’s going to take him in the Rule 5 draft. That would be 7 spots opened.

    • cheryl

      I doubt Soriano will ever be traded. They’ll have to keep him one more year than cut him.

      • Tommy

        I think you’re right, Cheryl.

  • calicubsfan007

    Why haven’t we cut Stewart yet by the way? That baffles me.

    • Kyle

      There’s a microscopic chance that some team might actually want to give us a plastic business card holder or something in a trade, so there’s no need to DFA him until the non-tender deadline. Once we don’t offer him a contract by that deadline, he’s off the roster.

  • Kyle

    Same argument as before: A year ago, the Cubs paid more than anybody else for Concepcion. He definitely did not improve his status in the time that has passed. He sails through waivers as easily as Soriano at this point. But it’s moot because it won’t matter.

    Clevenger still has enough upside that he’s worth more to me than most of the fringy Rule V guys.

  • Ben

    I assume the Barney one was just a mistake by Brett. He’s a lock for the roster.

    I agree with most of the red ones. Clevenger and Coleman need to be gone, and Stewart is a guy we can resign later. I think I would also mark LaHair as red. He may have some value, but is keeping a guy like that around worth losing a pitcher we may need, or a chance to take a shot with the number 2 pick in the rule 5 draft? I don’t think so.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t make mistakes.

      Actually, I do, but that wasn’t one. The Cubs will consider dealing Barney, as his value will probably never be higher. But he’s still highly likely to open the year on the roster.

      • MightyBear

        This is exactly correct.

        • terencem

          Cheers.

  • ruby2626

    In my opinion Campana would get grabbed in half a second. I know he’s only a .260 singles hitter with no power and barely any walks but over the course of the year his speed single handedly wins several games. Maybe in our situation a guy like that is a luxury but I’d still keep him.

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      Campana’s whole person won the cubs exactly .6 games last year in his playing time. If there’s any sort of roster crunch I would expect him to get DFA’d

      • Tommy

        I wouldn’t count on the Cub’s cutting loose a player that has already shown himself capable at the major league level. Beyond that, he has proven that he’s one of the best base stealers in the league, and for this reason alone, I think they’ll hang on to him, even as just a pinch runner. The point is, he has value – real value, and at the very least, he is something they could trade.

        • MichiganGoat

          Meh, his sole value is that he is really, really fast but I don’t know if that equal a great base stealer. He has doesn’t always get great jumps (just like his defense) and this covered up by his blazing speed. Once that slows down (and it will) he has no value and I doubt a team is willing to give us anything of value.e

          • Tommy

            I dunno, Goat. Gonna have to disagree with you on that one. Campana stole 30 bases on 33 attempts for the Cubbies in very limited action. That’s a pretty darn good steal % rate. May be the best in the majors for anyone with more than 20 attempts, but I couldn’t find that statistic anywhere.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Nobody disputes Campana’s base-stealing skills. However, it’s also tough to dispute that he lacks any other skills: he’s awful at getting on base, he has no power, his throwing arm is horrific, and he cannot judge flyballs very well.

              GIven that stolen bases have no association with consistently winning, this makes Campana a pretty gratuitous player.

              • Turn Two

                Actually i am pretty sure goat was disputing his baserunning ability on the account that his speed makes up for poor baserunning which i think is obviously not true in his case. i would change your statement to one that argues there is no quantifiable stat that shows good baserunning consistently wins games. I can’t agree with the sabermetrics guys that baserunning means next to nothing.

                • MichiganGoat

                  I argue that he is not a great base runner just a really fast base runner, he gets picked off 8% of time (pick offs/stolen base opportunities) as compared to Trout that was at a 2% rate. His speed makes up for bad jumps and/or poor “tells.” I’m not doubting that he might be the fastest in baseball but speed is just one part of stealing bases and base running.

                  • Turn Two

                    A good point. In fairness trout is one of the few better baserunners in my opinion and while his pickoff rate is high, his steal percentage is good and while there is no great metric for baserunining outside of steals i think he does run the bases well.that’s my big issue with sabermetrics and baserunning.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Looking at someone like Bourn we see similar PO% as Trout over his career, there might not be a great Sabermetric for base running but when you get picked off 4-5x more than the other top base stealers I find it hard to call him the best in baseball or even in the top. My point has always been that being really, really fast does not equal greatness unless there is a 40yd dash time that baseball tracks that I’ve missed.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

                    i dont think anyone was comparong campana to trout in any capacity

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Nope just comparing Campana’s greatest as a base runner to other top base stealers in baseball.

            • Tommy

              Scratch that. I just checked and there are a handful of guys with better steal %, but very few. Although, he and Emilio Bonafacio had 100 fewer AB’s than anyone even near their number of SB’s, and Bonafacio had 244 to Campana’s 174 AB’s. That is a hell of a % for stealing bases! Definitely the best in baseball there.

              • MichiganGoat

                I was just looking up Trouts picks offs of 5 to his SBO (stolen base opportunities) of 270+ to Campana’s 6 pick offs to 70+ SBO. That “messy” (for lack of a better term) base running is why I don’t see him as an elite base stealer but instead a really fast runner, and unfortunately he doesn’t have ant worthy skills beyond that.

                • Tommy

                  Goat, Trout is 1 of 2 players with more than 30 steals that has a better steal percentage this year than Campana. All the others on the list from what I could tell were thrown out more than 10% of the time (granted, I only did a quick browse).

                  We’ll have to agree to disagree when it comes to Campana’s baserunning skills. From what I’ve seen and what I can discern from the stats I’ve looked at, I think his skills on the bases are pretty extraordinary.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    I’m not looking at steal % in that regard Campana is excellent, instead I’m concerned by the belief that his speed and steal % equals superior base running skills. When compared to other top “stealers” his pick offs are quite alarming and is why I don’t buy into this “he’s a great base runner” he is really fast and can steal a base but he gets picked off at a concerning rate. I guess we are just looking at different measures for base running success – I see Campy as a great base stealer but a good base runner and that is only because of his speed.

    • fortyonenorth

      I think the Dodgers would grab him. They’d pay him $500k and use him as a pinch runner once in September.

  • Tommy

    I will go out on a limb and say there is no way the Cubs protect Gerardo Concepcion. I saw this guy pitch live and he is absolutely horrible in every aspect. I can’t imagine a reason they’d want to protect him at the money he’s making.

    Also, why protect Soriano or Valbuena? I know Soriano played well last year, but if someone was willing to take on the full amount of his contract over the last 2 years, why would the Cub’s care? We’ve been trying desperately to free that up since last year! With Valbuena, I just don’t see that he offers enough over any player we could pick up from the scrap heap that he’d be worth protecting (and I say this as a Valbuena fan).

    Good list, though, Ace – and you usually know what you’re talking about, so I imagine you’ll be dead on with most of these predictions. I would bet a handsome price on my Concepcion prediction, though. He is horrible, horrible, horrible.

    • WGNstatic

      I am not sure about the details of the rules regarding veterans, but…

      The Cubs cannot simply remove Soriano from the 40 man roster and expect someone to pick up his salary. For that he would need to go through the waiver wire process, once he cleared waivers he would become a free agent, but, the Cubs would be left with his entire salary minus the league minimum picked up by his new team.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Correct.

      • CubFan Paul

        thats the trade i want the Cubs to offer for a good prospect

        “his entire salary minus the league minimum picked up by his new team”

        Soriano plus $34M gets them a (blocked) top prospect (villenueva, vizcaino) like Delgado or maybe Olt.

      • Tommy

        WGNstatic – hey! Thanks for the info! That definitely makes things a lot more understandable!

    • Kyle

      Might as well lay this out.

      Once a player is on the 40-man roster, he stays there until he becomes a free agent, is traded, retires, or is “designated for assignment.”

      When a player is designated for assignment, he is immediately removed from the 40-man roster, and the team has 10 days to do something with him. They can trade him. They can release him, and owe him any guaranteed salary he has left on his contract (minus the league minimum if any other team picks him up). Or they can waive him, which is the usual option.

      Once waived, every team in the league will have a chance to make a claim on him. Unlike the post-trade deadline revocable waivers, these are irrevocable. Once the players is waived, he’s gone if at least one team claims him. If the player is claimed, the new team takes on all the responsibilities of his contract.

      If no team claims the player, he is said to have “cleared” waivers. At that point, he can be “outrighted” to the minor leagues while still under that team’s control. However, if the player has been outrighted before in his career, he can refuse the assignment and become a free agent, nullifying his contract. If the player has at least five years in the major leagues, he can refuse the assignment to the minors and he has to remain on the 25-man roster or be released (same as above, you still have to pay the player if you release him).

      You can usually predict what would happen if a player is DFA’d. If the Cubs were to DFA Soriano, no team would claim him on waivers because nobody wants to take on his salary. The Cubs would have to either restore him to the majors or release him, and still have to pay him.

      If Concepcion were waived, he’d clear easily. He was a free agent last year and nobody wanted to pay him what the Cubs paid him. A year later, his stock has dropped and he’s still owed most of the money.

  • Frank

    Casey Coleman’s a no brainer to let go of. We’ve seen enough of him to know that he’s little more than depth. I’d much rather give the spot to Struck and see what he’s worth. Ian Stewart should be a sure thing this season. We really need to give him a full, hopefully healthy season. Another guy I wouldn’t mind either trading or just risk losing is Tony Campana. I know it’s an unpopular sentiment, but we simply have enough depth at the position, and Jackson, Sappelt, and Szczur each offer significantly more upside. Don’t care about Clevenger either way. He is what he is. I doubt anyone would take him, and if they do, there’s no shortage of replacements out there. Additionally, we may as well cash in LaHair for whatever we can get. His limited skill set is of little use to us, but could be to an AL team who’d rather give up a fringe prospect or two for a lefty bat than spend a mil or two on someone like Russ Branyan or Lyle Overbay.

  • Frank

    As for McNutt, it would be foolish to let go of him. I’d much rather risk losing Chapman or Brigham who never had the type of upside McNutt did not too long ago.

  • Cubs1967

    wow-this team lost 101 games and the question is who can they afford to lose?
    how about them all except castro, rizzo and smardz.

    right now; launch stewart, lendy “i suck” castillo, raley, rusin, campy, and concepcion “theo paid me what-8M” and this team will only lose 98 games next year.

    this is perhaps the easiest decision jedai will ever have..So watch him fuck it up!

    • DarthHater

      I wonder if we could trade Cubs1967 for this guy?

      [img]http://www.urbandictionary.com/zoom.php?imageid=7512[/img]

      • DarthHater

        [img]http://media.urbandictionary.com/image/page/moran-7512.jpg[/img]

        • calicubsfan007

          @DarthHater: Careful, those “morans” will get ya! Hahaha Whenever I see that pic, I start hearing some banjos play that song from “Deliverance”.

        • Tommy

          You know, looking at the list, I can’t imagine they’d protect LaHair at this juncture, either.

    • MichiganGoat

      Ignored, ignored, ignored

    • Chef Brian

      @Cubs1967. Do you miss Jed? Are you a mess without him? Do you miss his scent? Do you miss his musk? Do you think after this all gets sorted out you guys should get an apartment together?

      • MichiganGoat

        Chef, repeat after me “ignored, ignored, ignored”

        • Chef Brian

          Lol, Sorry Goat I couldn’t resist the Anchorman reference. Your way is probably better.

          • MichiganGoat

            No worries it was a great reference but its best to ignore 67.

  • http://obstructedview.net Aisle 424

    I’d have no problem with Josh Vitters being exposed to the Rule 5. At this point, I’m a better 3rd base prospect than he is.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Aisle424: My 85 year old grandma, who is blind, is a better prospect at third than him! Who knows, maybe he might become the next Santo this year. Not likely, but I like to stay positive.

    • Tommy

      Ohh, I wouldn’t bet on that just yet. If you’ve read some past posts that Brett has made about Vitters, many of them have discussed how he has struggled at every stage of the game initially, but then taken off once he got comfortable. Vitters is still very young (23, I think), and he was tearing up AAA before he tanked after getting called up. I wouldn’t give up on him just yet!

      • MichiganGoat

        Agreed give Vitters one more year to show progress and then we can revisit his worth.

  • Chad

    I believe that they have to remain on the 25 man roster the entire season correct? Does anyone believe that Szcur, Concepcion could stick on a ML roster? I don’t, but that’s just me. I don’t think Lake could either, but he’s to valuable to just take that chance.

    • MichiganGoat

      Correct they must stay on the 25 man roster for the entire and for that reason those players are less likely to get picked up than someone like Watkins.

      • Kyle

        Concepcion and Szczur are already on the 40-man roster, so the Rule V draft doesn’t really matter to them.

        If you want to take them off the 40-man roster, they have to clear waivers. Concepcion almost certainly would clear (anyone who takes him has to keep him on their 40-man and pay the rest of his contract, which no one will even slightly want to do), and Szczur absolutely would not. Once claimed on waivers, they’d be lost to us regardless, and the other team is free to option them to the minors, while they still have to stay on the 40-man.

    • MichiganGoat

      But I believe Szcur & Concepcion are contractual on the 40 man and removing them would place them on waviers, where they would be picked up.

  • Katie

    And just because they are valuable to us doesn’t mean they’re valuable to anyone else. I’m sure the front office isn’t going to be sentimental about any of the players and will trim and trade the players that need to go.

  • calicubsfan007

    Okay, our system is like top 10 ranked in the league now right? Which means we are pretty loaded in talent. This means that we have some flexibility with who we can keep. That would mean that I wouldn’t want to let Watkins go because I kept someone like Concepcion on the roster, no matter what the guy’s contract says. Concepcion won’t be picked in the rule 5, I am pretty sure of that. I am not bashing the signing of him, I just know that his play doesn’t deserve a spot on the MLB active roster right now.

    • Kyle

      Borderline top 10. Some people will see it as high as like 6 or 7, others might see it as low as the late teens. There’s not really that much difference, anyway.

      • Tommy

        I’m not disagreeing, but I’ve been unable to find anything online that has the Cubs farm system ranked higher than 16. Could someone post a link to a site that has them listed in the top 10 if you have it available?

        • calicubsfan007

          @Tommy: I can’t really say. I got that top 10 thing from conversations with people. Sorry.

          • Tommy

            ah, no worries. I’ve been hearing the same thing quite a bit myself and was just hoping there was a write-up on our current farm system that I could read. I would hope we land in the top 10 now. I think our AA on down is pretty loaded right now, and hopefully even moreso after this year’s draft!

        • Kyle

          Nobody has done any recent rankings yet. They’ll start coming out in January and February. All the rankings now are a year old, and a lot ha changed in the last year.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    How are Bryan LaHair and Tony Campana “…players who have too much value to risk losing for nothing in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, but who could be traded before then in order to open up a spot (I’m not saying these guys are likely to be dealt ” They have no VALUE!

    Come on -

  • KoyieHillsucks

    Stewart coleman, valbuena, brigham and clevenger would be my pick… im sure the cubs can find a third baseban who will have a ba avg. that hovers around .200 rather easily..

  • SalukiHawk

    Explain to me how the ‘derostering’ works…

    If we were to just drop say Ian Stewart from the 40 man, does he then go through waivers and if not claimed he can be resigned?? If he is resigned does he then have to be put on the 40 man again? Or is there a later date when 40 mans have to be finalized once again??

    Similar, maybe even same question… Say we protect Villanueva and then after the Rule V sign a free agent. Can we just ‘drop’ Villanueva off the 40 man and back to the minors or will he have to go through waivers himself or become a free agent??

  • SalukiHawk

    Nevermind, I think Kyle answered my question… Thanks!!

  • Stan

    Just thinking of the possible ways there are to clear up space on the 40 man roster. We have:

    Non-tendering
    Trades
    Waivers
    60 Day DL

    Am I missing any?

  • Matty

    The majority of the players that make up the quality of the Cub’s system are too young to be affected by the 40 man roster decision, correct? I understand the academic exercise of discussing the 40 man issue, but really other than a small handful of players who can be easily protected, the Cubs could lose anyone with little to no effect in 2013 and beyond. The players that will have more than a bit part in any future success are in A or AA, with the exceptions of Castro, and possibly Rizzo and Shark. I highly doubt any other organization in baseball is salivating to get at the various flotsam that makes up the major league and upper minor league of the Cubs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      To be fair, the Cubs lost two players in the 2011 Rule 5, and the system was just as flotsam-y then.

      • daveyrosello

        Neither one was a loss, either. Marwin Gonzalez is punchless; Ryan Flaherty can’t hit a curveball.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That wasn’t really my point.

          • Matty

            But it was my point. I agree the Cubs may lose one or two players, just that they will be of no consequence in the future.

  • George Altman

    I’m not sure Concecion can be removed from the roster before 6/1/12. I would expect LaHair to be signed to play in Japan anyday now. Coleman will probably be waived, Stewart and Valbuena non-tendered with Valbuena probably re-signed to a minor-league deal with a NRI to Spring Training. I can’t see anyone lock to be added except Watkins.

  • chris

    Why is it that Sczcur is contractually on the 40-man?

    Who else is likely to be a likely to be protected?

    – Logan Watkins
    – Christian Villaneuva
    – Nick Struck
    – Dae-Eun Rhee
    – Marcelo Carreno
    – Trey McNutt
    – Frank Batista

    Seem to be candidates on the list.

    Definitely agree that Rusin, Raley, Coleman can go.

    Bowden, Gutierrez, Putnam and Brigham seem like they could get left off.

    I agree Campana probably gets a sprint training invite. I don’t think he can hit enough to make it. LaHair – would be nice to sell to Japan – that second half lack of productivity doesn’t show much for the future.

  • MichiganGoat

    Sczcur was given a MLB contract to convince him to choose baseball over football, Samardzja had the same type of contract.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Not exactly.

      The Cubs signed Szczur after the draft as normal, and he played the rest of that season in the Cubs farm system (and looked pretty good at times).

      Then he went back to school and played his senior year of football. It became pretty apparent that, if he stuck with football, that he would be taken in the later rounds of the NFL draft and would probably have a multi-year career as a kick/punt returner making at or close to league minimum. That would still be more money than his bonus from the Cubs.

      To help convince him to stick with the slower path and less sure thing of baseball, the Cubs raised his signing bonus substantially. In order to do that, though, they had to void his original post-draft contract and sign him to a new one. As a result of that process he became immediately eligible for the Rule 5 draft… unless he was protected by being placed on the 40 man roster.

      Szczur has, to my knowledge, no guarantees of any roster slot built into his contract. His presence on the 40 man is solely due to the fact that he already eligible for the Rule 5 and that there is absolutely no chance he would survive the Rule 5. Odds are quite good he’d be one of the first players taken.

      • MichiganGoat

        Thanks Luke, knowing is half the battle ;)

  • daveyrosello

    No reason not to jettison LaHair, he has no spot on this team. His 40-man slot is worth more than he is as a player. The pitchers, ugh. Brigham, Bowden, Castillo, Chapman, Putnam, Rusin, really? Zeroes/roster filler/mopup men all. Coleman should have gone two years ago. If Concepcion and Szczur are contractually allowed to get cut, they should be. Stewart won’t be back. Valbuena has already been another team’s castoff. There, that’s 10 men off the list, 12 if Concepcion and Szczur as well. And NONE of the organization’s upside is impacted.

    • Tobias

      I agree with most of the pitchers you bring up with the exception of Chapman and to some extent Putnam (haven’t really seen much of him to make a judgment). Chapman did some good things when he came over from Texas. If Cubs are not completely sold on Conception/Matt S. then why not use those two as building blocks in a deal for Randall Delgado trade if Cubs possibly view Delgado as a main core for their rotation.

  • Tobias

    Pitchers are much easier to keep on a roster than a position player because teams can just keep the pitcher in the bullpen for the whole season much like Cubs did with Lendy Castillo. From looking at the 40 man, I am looking for who can the Cubs really go without. So far: Bowden, Coleman, Clevenger, Stewart, Valbuena, Campana, and LaHair. Cubs could get creative and package a few of the players that are tweeners with Barney for more pitching. Would a package of Conception, Barney, Lake, and Bowden be enough to pry Delgado away from Atlanta?

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      One problem with your trade is that we’d be sending 4 guys from our 40-man and getting one in return. I doubt Atlanta would have space for all of those guys…so, they aren’t going to make that trade just to DFA two or three of them. Do you see what I’m sayin’?

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    I would drop brooks raley, casey Coleman, steve Clevenger and maybe even bowden before I not protect nick struck. More upside with Nick Struck

  • Fastball

    If I am rebuilding the 40 man roster this off season then these players don’t make my cut as keepers. Either the Cubs make a few trades right away or they just take the risk.

    My Cuts: Clear 9 roster spots and leave room to move up a couple to the roster.
    Szcur, Clevenger, Rusin, Raley, Coleman, Belliveau, Brigham, Concepcion.
    I doubt any of the pitchers would get claimed except for Belliveau. None of the others can stick on a 25 man roster anywhere in 2013. Concepcion contract isn’t one I would pick up on a Low A pitcher who has been sick. I don’t think Clevenger is all that attractive but could be part of a trade. I clear LaHair in a trade along with Rusin and Raley. Neither of those two pitchers impressed me and I don’t think they are anything but potential situational lefties in the ML. They just don’t have what I’m looking for in bullpen pitchers. They don’t make hitters miss, they don’t intimidate anyone and have batting practive fastballs. I don’t see the point in keeping below average no ceiling low floor talent.

    I look at the Rule 5 protection in a way that I have to discriminate against players I don’t see filling my roster now or in the next 12 months. I don’t think there is that much risk at losing most of the guys on my list. I doubt anybody really wants them. They made our 40 man because we lack real talent at the upper levels of the system and on the ML roster. This number of cuts is a strong indicator of the work that needs to be done this off season.

    • Kyle

      I think you are misunderstanding. If they are already on the 40-man roster and you waive them, the other team doesn’t have to keep them on the 25-man to keep them.

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