I can actually say “deepest,” because a huge swath of the players remaining in camp are headed out the door.
Today, the Cubs cut pitchers Chris Rusin, Casey Coleman, Jaye Chapman, Drew Carpenter, Blake Parker, and Jensen Lewis, as well as outfielders Brian Bogusevic, Darnell McDonald and Johermyn Chavez, and infielders Edwin Maysonet and Brad Nelson.
Rusin will continue starting in the AAA rotation at Iowa, and is probably the Cubs’ 6th starter while Matt Garza and Scott Baker convalesce. Drew Carpenter might also get some starts at Iowa. Coleman, Chapman, Parker, and Lewis will head to the Iowa bullpen if the Cubs decide to keep them all.
With Coleman, Carpenter, Parker, Chapman, Lewis and Rusin out of the mix, the guys still in the race for the final bullpen spot are lefty Hisanori Takahashi, and righties Rafael Dolis, Cory Wade, and Zach Putnam. Not that I’m one to toot my own horn, but, aside from Dolis, who can be – and almost certainly will be – optioned to Iowa, the other three were my guesses this morning for the final spot. I’m still thinking it winds up being Takahashi, who can be a situational lefty and a long-man in the pen. I’m OK with any of those three getting the job, though.
Although he had a strong Spring, Bogusevic’s job was pretty much guaranteed to be at AAA once Dale Sveum said Dave Sappelt was going to make the team. Bogusevic is a nice insurance plan to have waiting at AAA if an outfield goes down with injury (though, let’s keep it in perspective: he’s a bench guy). McDonald could now either go to Iowa, or he may end up being released.
Chavez is still an intriguing younger player, but he was always more of a “fringe prospect” type minor league signing than a true competitor for a bench job. Nelson was never really in the running for a bench job, and was mostly just using Spring Training to parlay himself into a starting first base job at Iowa as the Cubs’ designated Anthony-Rizzo-emergency-kit.
Maysonet was in the running to be the “extra” 25th man, required because Ian Stewart is going to start the season on the DL. With him out of the picture, it’s either going to be Alberto Gonzalez, Steve Clevenger, or a waiver wire addition. Knowing the men in charge, smart money bets on the latter.