brent lillibridgeAfter what seemed like weeks of adding nothing but bullpenners on minor league deals with non-roster invites to Spring Training, today the Cubs announced a couple more positional guys that have received minor league deals, and will be coming to Spring Training.

First, there’s utility man Brent Lillibridge, who can play all over the diamond, and did so quite well for the White Sox in 2011. That year, he hit .258/.340/.505, and looked primed to become a Ben Zobrist-style high-end utility guy. Of course, he struck out at 28.7%, and that number jumped to 34% in 2012, and his line dropped to an awful .195/.250/.274 in time split between the White Sox, Red Sox, and Indians.

And now he had to settle for a minor league deal and a non-roster invite. It’s a bummer for his career trajectory, but it’s great news for the Cubs. They get a 29-year-old guy who could legitimately compete for a bench spot, and, if he doesn’t win it, could be really nice depth down at AAA. That, of course, assumes that 2012 was more of an aberration than 2011 was (his career numbers suggest 2012 was more Lillibridge than 2011, but, hey, we can hope).

Then there’s 34-year-old outfielder Darnell McDonald, well known from his days in Boston. He never quite distinguished himself as a regular, but he could always play adequate defense all over the outfield. He’ll serve as AAA depth, and compete for a fifth outfielder’s job on the bench in the Spring. His primary competition would be someone like Tony Campana, presuming Dave Sappelt is locked into a job, and presuming the Cubs don’t add another outfielder in free agency or trade.

You can see the Cubs’ current list of non-roster invitees, the rest of whom have been covered in individual posts (as well as some players whose invitations haven’t officially been announced), here.

  • Kyle

    Oh yeah, can’t wait to find out which one is the next Joe Mather.

    • Fishin Phil

      Bite your tongue Kyle!

    • Joker

      Time to reign in the enthusiam, Kyle.

    • Norm

      Lillibridge. At least Darnell can give you a 0.0 WAR.

  • ramy16

    I like Lilibridge…high upside…and can steal ya a base or 2! Its time for Campana to go!!!!

  • Frank

    Lillibridge is the type of guy who could post a hot month or two in AAA and cause stupid Cubs fans to demand that he be called up as soon as Castro hits a mini slump, forgetting every other AAAA scrub who’s had a hot month or 2 in AAA over the past several years and then been called up and sucked.

    • Crazyhorse

      Lillibridge is a low option insurance policy- I like the signing if for some reason the limp wrist Ian Stewart has difficulties swinging a bat ,its nice to know that the Cubs are thinking about the 25 man roster -I doubt anyone wants to displace Castro .I hope Stewart is ready ,,,,,,,, but i have doubts on his ability and dedication .

  • Melrosepad

    Still waiting to see if we bring back Adrian Cardenas or if someone else picks him up. I’m surprised I haven’t seen him with an invite yet to a team.

    • Mike

      @ Melrosepad: I will be interested to see where Cardenas ends up. He really never got a solid chance with the big club last year…way too few at bats to really judge how he might have hit major league pitching. I know he’s not know for his defense, but his bat could play very well in at least a platoon situation, or as a DH. I hope Cardenas gets more at bats at the major league level in 2013 and beyond to see what he can do, no matter what team he plays for.

  • fromthemitten

    These are great signings but I hope none of them wind up hitting 3rd in the lineup like Mather did

    • TWC

      … or 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th.

  • MightyBear

    I’m a big fan of Blake Parker who was pitching well in AAA and 1 short appearance with Cubs till he got hurt. Then he struggled when he came back. I think he can help the Cubs bullpen.

  • Robert007

    Keith law just came out with his Top 25 players, under 25. It’s “insider info” and you have to pay for it. Does anyone here have it? If so , did any Cubs make it?

    • The Dude

      Starlin 8, Rizzo 18. Starlin down two spots from last year, which is impressive considering he was leaped by Trout, Harper, Strasburg, and Machado.

    • Chris

      Castro was 8 and Rizzo 15 or something like that.

  • Big Joe

    Neither guy will make it. I suppose competition in spring training is good, but…when most of the guys “competing” are of the same skill level, I’d just flip a coin.

  • mudge

    Lillibridge has a power groove. Good flyer.

    • Big Joe

      Such a good flyer…no other team offered him the same deal.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    More Sawx drippings.

  • Mike

    I think Lillebridge will make it to the opening day roster. And, regarding solidifying the opening day roster, I really don’t see the Cubs doing much else in the way of other free agents, unless it is of the minor-league contract type. I could see a possible small trade or two, but I think they are more or less done until spring training.

  • Mike

    Sorry, misspelling there: Lillibridge.

  • Paul Popovich rules!

    Strange, a full day without anyone demanding that Barney be traded. That flu epidemic must really be bad!