reefer madnessThis Spring, it was pretty clear that, among the non-roster invites, utility man Brent Lillibridge and reliever Hisanori Takahashi were the favorites to win the final bench and bullpen job, respectively. They came in with the best pedigrees, and they did nothing in the Spring to definitively lose those spots. So they were the guys.

Until, just two weeks into the season, they weren’t performing, and they were summarily designated for assignment.


The Cubs will now have 10 days to waive, release, or trade each player. My guess is that Takashi is released if he isn’t claimed, and that Lillibridge will be sent to Iowa if he manages to clear waivers and doesn’t refuse the assignment.

In Takahashi’s place, today the Cubs called up recent signee Kevin Gregg, the former Cubs closer who has fallen on hard times in recent years. Given the timing, it’s quite clear that the Cubs always intended to add Gregg to the big league pen, which … is surprising. But they have a closeness to his abilities that I don’t – maybe he’s flashing nice numbers on the gun, and looks like he’s got good stuff again. Who knows. Even if he’s a downgrade from Takahashi, he isn’t a significant one.

In Lillibridge’s place, today the Cubs claimed 37-year-old infielder Cody Ransom, who flamed out with the Padres this year. Ransom was surprisingly productive in 2012 after a few years of looking like it might be time to hang ’em up. Once again, the upgrade/downgrade – if there is one – is minimal, but I question the point in the roster shuffling. Was it already so clear that Lillibridge didn’t offer more value than Ransom? Maybe so. In any event, Ransom will be fighting for a roster spot in a week or two when Ian Stewart is ready to come off the disabled list, so this could be a very short-term move.

Taking these moves together with the activation of Darwin Barney from the disabled list, and the addition of reliever Kameron Loe from the Mariners (taking the spot of Rafael Dolis), and it was a very active day on the Cubs’ roster.

Gregg and Loe are both available out of the pen tonight, and Ransom is questionable to make it in time for the game. If he doesn’t make it, he’ll debut tomorrow.

After the flurry, the 40-man – by my count – once again stands at 40.

  • Kenster

    What about Ted Lilly????

  • Aaron

    Seriously not Kevin Gregg…..we already tried this experiment with him once and it was a bust!!

  • ncsujuri

    Perhaps the Gregg move is try him at closer, if he succeeds he becomes a flippable asset to someone closer to contending for anything other than the #1 draft pick.

  • cubmig

    So……..someone told me 100 ABs would be the benchmark for gauging Rizzo’s hit performance. Question: What is the benchmark for Theo&Co? For Sveum? I can’t help feeling anxious about the musical chairs approach that I see from the FO—-or Sveum being asleep-at-the-switch. The promise for a decent season was said to hang on a “fast start” by this club. That’s not happening. What we’re seeing is a struggle mired in unreliability. Somewhere one has to level and call out those accountable. Who is it? I think we’ve had plenty of years of GMs and Managers to weigh how the moves are going. I, for one, am tired of fighting my own negativity. I want to see change with promise, not experiments with doubts.

  • DONNIE621

    Brent did pretty well for the Sox for a time but I hated him coming up when the Cubs needed a hit. Besides him… It is painful to watch the Cub offense. I hope it won’t be like this all year.