Quantcast

We’ve been waiting all day for the Cubs to make a few roster moves, what with today being the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters for the purposes of the Rule 5 Draft (which takes place on December 6). The Cubs’ roster stood at 39 coming into today, so movement was necessary lest they risk losing some of their more experienced prospects in the Rule 5.

And add they did: four of the youngsters we expected them to, in pitching prospects Trey McNutt and Robert Whitenack, as well as second baseman Logan Watkins and third baseman Christian Villanueva.

To open up spots for those four, the Cubs dealt Jake Brigham, designated Bryan LaHair for assignment, and waived pitcher Carlos Gutierrez, who cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Iowa.

With that, the Cubs’ 40-man stands at 40. Nick Struck is probably the biggest name the Cubs leave exposed to the Rule 5, but even that isn’t a huge surprise. As the offseason moves on, the Cubs will have to make more moves, obviously, as they add free agents and (possibly) a Rule 5 pick of their own. They’ll have to clear more spots first.

I’ll have more on the implications of these moves, individually (especially the LaHair one, which the Cubs apparently are telling folks is about LaHair heading to Japan (must not have found any takers for him)), but I wanted to get you the moves, themselves, ASAP.

  • Ogyu

    So, they are leaving Struck vulnerable?

    • Spencer

      I really don’t understand why Clevenger is on the roster.

      • Mak

        Most teams leave 3 catchers on the 40 man.

  • MichiganGoat

    Japan is perfect for LaHair

  • DarthHater

    This means some Japanese team will have to pay the Cubs a huge posting fee, right??? :-P

  • Dustin

    So…does this mean no more moves will be made tonight?

  • Jason

    Clevenger will not be on the 40 man for long.

  • Kyle

    Let’s see, who said last April that LaHair would be in Japan in 2013?

    *this guy*

    Still surprised a little, though. Lots of guys on the 40-man I like less than him.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m guessing the Cubs were probably just trying to get him money before he got too old. Obviously he’d be a fine bench bat, but that’s it. The more I think about it, given his age (and service time), the Cubs really were probably helping him out (after shopping him, of course).

      • Spencer

        I still wouldn’t have minded Coleman and Clevenger being given the boot and keeping LaHair and adding Struck.

        • MichiganGoat

          I still expect those two to be off the 40 man, they might be trying to make a few last minute moves still have 3 hrs.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            They can be booted any time.

            • Spencer

              Yes, that’s true, but I don’t really care if they get booted after the Rule 5 deadline. It’s all about who is on the roster at the deadline, isn’t it?

              • MichiganGoat

                I read that as can be booted at anytime tonight

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  No. Any time. Today’s deadline was only about protecting prospects. So the Cubs booted just enough to protect the guys they wanted to protect. The others will be booted as the Cubs, for example, sign free agents. Gotta make room for them.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                If you’re talking about prospects to protect, then yes. But otherwise, it makes no difference whether, for example, Coleman is booted today or tomorrow.

                • Spencer

                  Right. And what I’m saying is (probably ad nauseam at this point) is that I would have rather seen Coleman or Clevenger removed today in favor of adding Struck, rather than removing them later.

                  • TonyP

                    Thed does not agree with you Spencer, however I do.

                    • Spencer

                      I’m glad someone does!

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    I hear you. I’m just saying it’s not like the Cubs haven’t been evaluating Struck very, very closely over the past year. Obviously they saw a reason to roll the dice on Struck.

                  • nkniacc13

                    Who’s to say that Clevenger won’t be a part of a trade?

      • cheryl

        It’s best for LaHair. I didn’t see an alternative and they obviously didn’t want him for the bench. Wherever he goes, if he sticks with baseball e needs to play regularly.

        • cheryl

          Don’t think Sveum had any confidence in him anyway.

          • cheryl

            One of the things that bothered me about LaHair was the way he was and is catagorized as too old. He had problems beyond that but was basically gone after Rizzo came ondeck and he probavly knew it.

    • Spencer

      Yeah, seems like the space could’ve been created by losing someone else. He at least has some value off the bench.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I do find it a little surprising that they could not get any takes on LaHair, as he looks like he could be a serviceable platoon bat for a team that really needs power and decent OBP against righties. Still, LaHair languished in AAA for years when he probably could have been had for a song, so clearly 30 MLB teams are in agreement that either he’s not even that useful, or that level of use is not adequate for a roster spot.

    • Tommy

      Kyle – in fairness, with as much as you say, you’re bound to be right on something once in a while just by process of elimination!

  • freddy

    So I guess this basically means there is no “significant” trade on the horizon for tonight? No Casey Kelly or Chisenhall. Bummer

  • Dingo

    Struck is good as gone. No way a team doesn’t pick him up.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A very fair chance, yes. Will he stick? Given the way teams play games with the DL, maybe. Cubs clearly didn’t think he was worth saving, and they’ve been watching him very closely.

      • Kyle

        My question is: Is Struck a better prospect than Concepcion?

        • Tommy

          I can answer that: No.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Concepcion is a lefty. Until we see more from him, I’d say that nicely breaks the tie.

          After we see more from Concepcion I might change my mind.

      • Spencer

        The Cubs just proved how easy it is to keep even a terrible pitcher on the roster all season long.

        • JulioZuleta

          Ehhh, I’d take a flier on Lendy way before I’d take one on Struck.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            On that, we completely agree.

  • R.E.S

    I’ ve been watching the Royals moves because like us they had a lot of rule 5 eligible players to protect. I was hoping they would leave Donnie Joseph off , they didn’t but they dfa’d Ryan Verdugo. Could the Cubs drop someone and claim him or are rosters frozen now till after the draft?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Can drop and claim just like any other time of the year. Today’s deadline was solely about making sure prospects whom you don’t want to lose in the Rule 5 are on the roster.

    • Richard Nose

      I’d be all for getting after Verdugo. Some Royals fans I know were pretty excited about him last year.

  • TonyP

    Not as sexy as I thought it might be, and very surprised by some of the decisions. I hope the right decisions were made. We will know if the answer to that in a few years mostly likely.

  • nkniacc13

    Still wouldn’t be surprised to either see another trade tonight or one here the week afer Thanksgiving. Would be shocked that after tonights lock in for Rule 5 the Cubs don’t clear 1 spot so they could take someone

  • cheryl

    What about the possibility of moving Marmol? That would possibly bring in some players that needn’t be on the 40 man roster and open up a spot for the Japanese closer. Even though the Cubs should go with starting pitching they might take a chance on him.

    • cheryl

      P.S.: I know it isn’t expected.

    • nkniacc13

      my guess is marmol will be moved at the winter meetings if traded before ST

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Keep in mind, unless he turns a corner sometime soon, Struck has a pretty firm ceiling as a No 5 starter. He could probably go into a major league rotation immediately, but there isn’t a lot of upside there. The only reason I listed him as one the Cubs would be likely to protect is because of the some of the comments on him coming out of the Cubs front office.

    I think Whitenack, despite his higher ceiling, was a low risk to be taken due to his injury rehab process, but I’m very glad the Cubs aren’t gambling with him. Same with Villanueva.

    Watkins. Huge sigh of relief. After the Cubs the let Flaherty and Gonzalez go last year in the Rule 5, I was honestly afraid they were going to let Watkins go as well. And that would be a big mistake. Cubs fans are going to like this kid.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      I could have seen the Astros take Whitenack and stick him in the bullpen all year. Big upside and, since their goal this season appears to be 120 or bust, he really helps short term and long term.

  • nkniacc13

    I think they realized they had to protect Watkins if they even want to think aboiut moving Barney this year. Im glad they kept Whitenack I think it may have been kinda easy to do what the cubs did with Lendy with him to keep him on the roster

  • Bill

    Still don’t know why we protected Villanueva. I can’t see someone picking up a guy who’s never played above A ball. The guy has little power for a power position, and we have better prospects at 2B. If he would have gotten taken in the Rule 5 draft, I wouldn’t look at that being a big los. I’m more concerned losing pitchers since we don’t have a lot of pitching depth.

    • nkniacc13

      maybe he’s a better trade canidate than struck would be?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Don’t give up on his power just yet. He’s more of a line drive hitter right now, but plenty of scouts see him as developing at least average pop for third (and plenty disagree). His FSL power numbers don’t tell us anything. That’s a tough league for hitters, and even true slugging types see their power numbers decline in Florida.

    • Kubphan82

      I don’t think we should worry too much about losing fringe 5th spot rotation starters… We still have the like of Jay Jackson and Whitenack in house… Potential trades and youth not required to be on the 40 lurking for promotions… And the ever popular waiver wire…

  • Tim

    Does anyone think Villanueva would spend any portion of a season with a major league team though?

    • Bill

      I guess that is my point. Who is going to keep this guy on a ML roster all season? I can see hiding a pitcher on the roster and hardly using him (like the Cubs did with Lendy), but a position player is a different story. Let’s say a terrible team decides to carry him. If they play the guy all they are going to do is hurt his development. This isn’t a guy who dominated A+ pitching, so he’ll be totally overmatched against ML pitching. I think the chances of him getting selected were remote but Theo couldn’t chance it since this is one of the guys he traded for at the deadline.

      • Kyle

        I agree the Cubs could have probably gotten away with not rostering Villanueva, but the tiny chance that you lose him has to be weighed against the tiny chance that a guy like Struck becomes a useful pitcher. It’s all pretty pointless either way.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        It wouldn’t be an ideal situation, but he could have been used as a defensive replacement around the infield (except short) for a team like Houston or Miami that isn’t going anywhere anyway.

        There is plenty of upside with Villanueva. He was not just a no-name throw-in the Cubs scrapped off the pavement at the trade deadline. He’s a legit third base prospect that teams would have at least given some thought to taking.

  • cubchymyst

    Does anyone know what a typical number of prospects on the 40 man roster is? By my count the Cubs now have 8 players who have not yet played in AAA (Soler, Szczur, Villanueva, Whitenack, Concepcion, Lake, Leddy Castillo and Watkins).

  • Patrick W.

    When’s the last time an All-Star 1st baseman was dfa’d in November?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I was wondering the same thing. I can’t think of too many guys who go from the All-Star game in one season to Japan in the next.

      But this is absolutely the right move for LaHair. I think he’ll be a huge hit in Japan. And he’ll probably make a mint in the process. And you never know, five years now we might see him back in the states and being a key bench bat acquisition for a playoff team down the stretch. He’s not going to quit trying to get better, that’s for sure.

      • Patrick W.

        I think it is absolutely the best thing for LaHair. The flip side of my question is the idea of LaHair as an All-Star. Probably going to get him 50% more pay in a Japanese contract.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The flip side of my question is the idea of LaHair as an All-Star.

          And yet LaHair’s All-Star appearance got ignored by 29 other teams! The fact that he has to go to Japan will have a far greater affect on how much he gets there.

    • FFP

      Fair question. A little painful for me to see a local, Massachusetts man go. He may go from being most the most familiar, near-neighbor from “Wistah!”; to the most foreign, “Gaikoku no kata.” (I think “Gaijin” has become pejorative in Japan.)

  • PeteG

    Any ideas on who the Cubs may target for the rule 5 draft?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Let’s wait for the dust to settle first. I’ll start looking over the lists probably tomorrow night.

      And Thursday.

      And Friday.

      And probably virtually every day until the Rule 5 draft happens and I totally caught off guard when the Cubs snag an A-ball pitcher I’ve barely heard of…. not that something like that has ever happened…

      • Richard Nose

        haha, well put.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Guiterrez has cleared waivers and been assigned to Iowa.

  • The Show

    Scott Cousins?

  • J-Nasty

    Very happy the chose to protect Whitenack. This year could be a big year for him. Hope he can get back to pre tommy john form. McNutt and Watkins would not have make it through rule 5 draft so good choices there.

  • Kubphan82

    If Scott Moore refuses assignment, while not my first choice for 3B, think the Cubs would consider?

    29, lefty, 9hr and 110 OPS+ in 200 PA last season… He’s like an older Valbuena, considering there’s more power, probably split similar too… Not sure that’s a positive, but might be a positive to the FO…

  • J-Nasty

    Chone Figgins was DFA’d. Would the Cubs consider taking a chance on him? He could be a short term filler at 3B or a utility guy. Doesn’t add a lot with the bat lately, but a change of scenery could help.

    • Drew7

      I hope not. Figgins is absolutely pitiful.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      His OPS+ for 2011+2012 is 94.

      That’s… stunningly bad. I don’t know what happened to this guy, but he is just awful at the plate right now. I’d pass. Even as a bounce back candidate. I’d rather take my chances with Stewart or give Vitters a shot.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Theo often is excoriated for signing Lackey. However, at that time, the only signing considered “better” by most people was the M’s signing of Figgins. And, of course, the 3rd “great” signing that winter was Jason Bay. Man, that winter’s FA batch was a troika of disasters!

        Among this years’ FAs, Hamilton & Upton are my top bets for being veritable Figgins 2-3 years from now.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Is junior Lake still on the 40 man roster?? I like Lake and his defense

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Yep. Lake is safe from the Rule 5.

  • MightyBear

    Is Ian Stewart still on the 40 man roster? Did i miss something?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He’s still on the roster. The Cubs just cleared enough roster slots to protect the guys they wanted to protect. There are likely to be more roster moves coming in the coming weeks.

  • Did I Miss something

    So they protect Ian Stewart and they Let Lahair go and you all still think the FO knows what they are doing…………..Can I please get the Name of your Dealer because I will swear he sells the best crap ever……….LeHair atleast played proball thisb year………..In case you missed it stewart wasn’t playing nothing………I am sorry,you have to atleast make a move to earn respect……….The FO has made numerous mistakes since they have come on board and you guys are afraid to actually call them out………..Can’t any of you think for them selves……….Not one GM and President in Baseball has done so less in 1 yr………..Riz and Castro & Soriano’s Season doesn’t mean anything if they can’t get help…….

    • MichiganGoat

      Hmmm bad spelling, over use of …., did we travel back in time to 1967?

      • Tommy

        Good call, Goat. A tiger can’t change his spots, a zebra can’t change his stripes, a Cubsfan1967 can’t change his poor grammar.

        • MichiganGoat

          It’s more like “BetterNews from 1967″

          • Tommy

            LOL! Touche’! I believe you’ve nailed it!

            • Katie

              It’s definitely time for his mommy to shut off his Internet connection and make him take out the garbage.

          • MaxM1908

            He’s too much fun to play with. There are a few buttons you can push and he’ll start losing it. I will correct his grammar, yet! (Though, he appears to think “grammar” is the same as “spelling.”)

  • Did I Miss something

    The newness has worn off it’s time to sign a Pro Player that isn’t comming off an injury or a bad season……..now i am not saying to over spend at all………..so please don’t think I am saying that….but it is time to sign a Prominent player to a long term deal that has played Major League Ball at an All Star Level atleast One Season

    • Eric

      Wow. Please enlighten us as to which player who meets your criteria that is available and won’t be overpaid in free agency?

      And who is this LeHair you speak of?

      • daveyrosello

        I agree that the original poster is a knob, but internet spell-check-freaks are at least as annoying, if not more so. How about my use of the end-of-sentence preposition there, the horror! /snarc

        • Eric

          You should be an Internet detective and call out all the supposed spellcheck freaks. Well done!

      • MichiganGoat

        Ignore, I smell a troll.

  • Did I Miss something

    First of all if you look at Figgins in LA the Pitchers had to pitch better to him because of the threats behind him and he was able to be selective in what Pitches he took………In Seatle he had no such luck,he made a huge mistake in going for the money and not the talent around him……….Just like Soriano did in Chicago,the orginization has not put enough Talent behind him so he could be picky with his pitches…….The One Year of D.Lee and Ramirez Soriano did great but when D.Lee struggled Pinella who has a history of Flat out Refusing to change should have shuffeled the line up and moved D.Lee up and Soriano back and Hendry should have not stopped and went out and got 1 more star and thats the Same mistake THEO is making now in not going out and getting one more star to bat behind Soriano…….Figgins who I like his hustle on Defense should come here because he could be the great lead off base stealer and if the Cubs would go sign a True Power Hitter(Hamilton….which the Cubs can 100% Afford…..lool at the facts……go to Eias sports groups fact page) and bat soriano in front of him and he would see better pitches……and they should sign Upton to play CF……….The Cubs have huge money to spend and getting these two and locking up them and what they have to long term they could win in 2013…….Its a choice by the Ownership to lose and I have to ask you all why are they making that choice?……………

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Had to pitch to him? That is not how baseball works and it never has been, despite the ignorant blatherings of the baseball press. Indeed, it’s an awful description of what happened to Figgins: he went from a guy who was very selective and worked counts to a guy who started to swing seemingly at random. It had nothing to do with support or what pitchers “had” to do: he drew walks and laid off bad pitches in LA because he could distinguish good from bad pitches when they were 10′ from the pitchers’ hands then. In Seattle, he started to swing at an increasingly wide range of pitches, not because he “had” to do so, but because he stopped being able to recognize where the ball was going to wind up when it was 10′ from the pitcher’s hand.

      It got worse and worse, and over the last two years, people can throw him anything: sadly, Figgins has zilch pitch recognition at all anymore.

      As for BJ Upton, I’m betting he’ll be the 2012/3 FA who’s signing is compared most frequently to Figgins’ signing.

      • MichiganGoat

        Doc you are wasting your time trying to educate, communicate, or discuss logic with this most recent incarnation of “BetterNews from 1967″

        • Boogens

          No, this isn’t that guy. It’s Larry Newman, Jerry’s brother, from the State Farm commercials. ;-)

  • Did I Miss something

    What you do is Offer Hamilton a 5yr Deal and you over pay him to get him and you also go get Upton to play CF and Put Hamilton in RF and you get figgins forn 3rd and you go get Shields and you spend the huge amounts of money the Cubs have………..You put pure Major League talent around Riz and Castro and you and can win now

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+