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.

  • Patrick W.

    Replacing Brent Lillibridge with Cody Ransom reminds me of the time Avis upgraded me from a P.T. Cruiser to a Chevy H.H.R.

    • Brett

      Ha. I drove a HHR once … odd looking boat.

      • Polar Bear

        “It’s a schooner!”

        • HCS


  • Segal27

    I despise Kevin Gregg and I really hope he does not become the closer. I wish he wasn’t signed but I understand the need for depth…I would rather have Marmol as closer than Gregg.

    • Edwin

      Maybe it’s new marketing ploy by the Cubs. Surround Marmol with worse talent, so that he looks better by comparison.

      • willis

        Like mediocre chicks hanging out with a barn of uglies, makes them the shiz…

  • North Side Irish

    I’d rather see what Cory Wade, Zach Putnam, Drew Carpenter, or Jensen Lewis could do out of the pen rather than giving the spot to Gregg.

    I’d rather see what Lillibridge could do out of the pen rather than giving the spot to Gregg. But I’d probably rather watch Gregg bat, so it’s even.

    • The Dude Abides

      I don’t think they want to break up the chemistry of the Iowa team by bringing up any of those guys…oh wait, they are in last place too, nevermind.

    • OCCubFan

      “I’d rather see what Lillibridge could do out of the pen rather than giving the spot to Gregg. But I’d probably rather watch Gregg bat, so it’s even.”

      I nominate this for best comment of the day.

      • Cyranojoe


  • SirCub

    Front office is coming awfully close to that Broglio line….

  • JWK

    Can you really downgrade from a .042/.042/.083 line through 9 games?

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      Ransom is hitless in 11 at bats with 5k’s, so I guess you can…

      • hansman1982

        He has 6 AB’s to collect more hits than Lillibridge did to start the year…

  • TonyP

    Gregg in _Takahashi out
    Ransom in_Lillibridge out
    Loe in_Dolis out
    Barney in__ ?????? out

    What am I missing??????????

    • North Side Irish

      Clevenger to 60 day DL

      • TonyP


    • JulioZuleta

      Ransom’s not in. Claimed, but not up yet.

      • TonyP

        That makes more sense…..

        Ransom didn’t replace Lillibridge, Barney did.

        • JulioZuleta

          Yeah, I think that’s correct.

      • TonyP

        The 25 man roster is at 24 without Ransom………. So he must be in….

        • JulioZuleta

          You’re right. I guess he is in. Kinda cool to see them all listed as #42 on the roster.

    • CM

      I’m not sure what you’re missing, but major props on Clean Shaven Yak as your avatar.

      • TonyP

        :-) thanks

  • Kyle

    Ransom is probably just as bad as Lillibridge. (Both are probably better than Gonzalez, but he homered recently, so his job is safe for a month).

    The Gregg move should put the possibility that the front office is trolilng us on the table.

    • college_of_coaches

      I’ve always had this suspicion that someone has been trolilng us for a while now.

      • college_of_coaches

        Wish there was either a delete button or an edit button, because I didn’t mean to post that last comment in its present form.

    • college_of_coaches

      Okay, one last try: Brent Trolilbridge has been trolilng us.

    • jt

      The Cubs could win SOME games with or without Ranson, Lillibridge or Gonzalez.
      Unless the 2nd half 2012 Marmol shows and Fuji returns in good form The Cubs are not going to win much with the shallow addition of Gregg.

  • Joepoe321

    Tony p I’m guessin it’s clevenger went to the DL

    • TonyP

      yep, forgot about him.

  • hankp

    Kevin Gregg and Kameron Loe? Yeesh. The Cubs pen is like the Island of Misfit Toys

    • Dale’s Ear

      Carlos Marmol just wants to be a dentist..

      • Westbound Willie

        Maybe Cody Ramses can be the hygienist then. I bet he has clean finger nails.

        • hansman1982

          Wait, we got Ramses? Well, I guess he’s trying to come back from the debacle in the Red Sea game.

          • DarthHater

            “Let the name of hansman be stricken from every obelisk…”

            • Hansman1982

              That’s fine…I’m just gonna go wander in the desert for a generation or two. That seems like a fantastic idea.

  • Montana Hipster

    This just in…Epstein and Hoyer are also in contact with the agents of Todd Hundley, Antonio Alfonseca and Mel Rojas.

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      and Milton Bradley…

    • Westbound Willie

      I just hope theo washes his hands after he drops a deuce. He seems like the type that would. He dry on the other hand probably wiped himself with his bare hands and never wash them.

      • Westbound Willie


  • Rynomite

    Ransom is less versatile than Lillibridge and Ransom has never even hit much in the minors. He’s also 108 years old. Lillibridge must really be an asshole.

  • RY

    Garbage in Garbage out with the exception of Barney.

  • Westbound Willie

    Ransom is a low risk high reward classic pick up by theo. I’m sure when he lights it up that well flip him at the deadline for someone’s number one prospect that will likely turn into a star and if he doesn’t then well trade that guy for someone else’s top prospect and future hall of flames.

    Worst case it provides us with organization filler and veteran leadership that can only help our young struggling, suspended injured stars that currently reside in no where land but should be up in a month or so

    Can someone rank my post? I’m trying to be a theo rah rah and might need some more practice. Please advise……..

    • TWC

      “I’m trying to be a [douchebag] and might need some more practice. Please advise……..”

      Nah, I think you’ve got that nailed.

      • Westbound Willie

        You misread my post. I said theo rah rah.

        • TWC

          Oh, I read your post (-ish). I’m pretty good at subtext, thanks.

      • DarthHater


      • DarthHater


    • DarthHater

      “Can someone rank my post?”

      No, your post’s as rank as it’s gonna get.

      • Alex S

        I enjoyed that wordplay.

    • Koyie Hill Sucks

      hahaha, I will say that I don’t understand how someone like Luke Watson who will probably be called up in September cant fill in for a couple of weeks or a month right now? Wasted roster space having the likes of lillibridge and ransom…

      • Patrick W.

        I’ll bite. Who’s Luke Watson?

        • DarthHater

          Come on, putting imaginary players on the roster could only improve the Cubs at this point.

          • Patrick W.

            Well then, I want them to call up Nomar Gehrig.

        • Koyie Hill Sucks

          It’s someone that is better than lillibridge or ransom at baseball but I meant logan watkins, haha

          • Patrick W.

            I guessed as much… just poking a little fun.

          • Dynastyin2016

            Oh, the Logan Watkins that’s hitting .230? Let’s face facts…..we have few options.

            • jt

              I’d rather the Logan Watkins with the 0.391 OBP and 0.472 SLG.
              But I’d guess that guy needs a lot more experience/evaluation also.

  • cubzforlife

    Ransom is better looking. Lilibridge has that Kent Tekulve country vibe. We have the most handsomest front office and these dudes like a good looking man.

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  • Dean

    So this is the Marlin’s model right….get stadium funding approved, then get rid of all your good players right….ooops hold on a minute!
    Really hoping Barney and Stewart (when he comes up) can play up to their potential. Sweeney is up real soon I’d imagine. At least that line up ‘sounds’ better. Time to find the best two or three in the bullpen and ride them hard until the all star break. Starting pitching has had some quality starts, (with some exceptions) and Garza will help when he gets back. Keep the ship afloat boys until early-mid May and lets see where we’re at.

    • Rich H

      4 and 8 with the tough part of the month coming up is not “keeping the ship afloat.”

    • The Dude Abides

      “Keep the ship afloat boys until early-mid May and lets see where we’re at.”

      This season went down the drain when Clevenger went on the 60 day DL. Since then Theo has been forced to make a series of moves of dropping and signing players trying to cover his versatility. With the thought they put into him being the 25th man and to lose him so soon is a blow few teams could overcome.

      Pack it in boys, maybe next year.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        Are you seriously proposing that the reason these Cubs suck is an injury to their 3rd string catcher?

  • Believe in 2015

    Break out the champaign! We gonna celebrate tonight. No more Lillibridge!

  • Stu

    I feel sad for the season ticket holders who ponied up to watch this trash. Will someone phone management that they have paying customers. Really, Gregg?

    • Westbound Willie

      Anybody that bought season tickets to watch this group of misfits deserves everything they get…. Which is nothing

  • Rebuilding

    Say what you want about pricey free agents, but man has this FO struggled with the 20th thru 25th roster spots the last couple of years. Maybe that will all change when we are “competitive” but we sure make a lot of head scratching moves at the back end of the roster

  • Bric

    Very confused by most of these postings. I never have a problem with other fans having strong feelings one way or the other but strangely most of these postings don’t seem to be pro anything and anti everything. If you’re anti Lillibridge you can’t also be anti Ransom. If you’re anti Gregg you can’t also be anti Takahashi. Somebody’s got to put the friggin’ uniform on and play.

    If you want to be anti anyone be anti Hendry. he’s the one who throttled the team salary and failed to adequately address an obvious lack of talent in his farm system (Yeah, I know- drafting’s a crap shoot. Ahhh… tell that to the Braves, Yankees, Reds, A’s, and all the other teams who’ve out-drafted and out-developed their talent over ours).

    • Rebuilding

      I think most of these postings reflect the fact that these moves seem to just shuffling papers and don’t really make a lot of sense. I can be anti-Lillibridge and anti-Ransom. They are both terrible. Lillibridge should have never made the team based on a hot spring. Our FO is supposed to be smarter than that. And yes, before you ask me who would have been better – Logan Watkins in our system and Conor Gillaspie who the White Sox picked up for basically nothing would have both been an upgrade at 2b and 3b. Not to mention you could trade organizational filler for about 20 guys in AAA who could out produce Lillibridge, Ransom or Valbuena

      • ETS

        but.. but.. what if you want the number 1 overall pick next year? 😉

  • fromthemitten

    this screams of throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks

    • Mike

      I thoroughly agree with you. Swapping bad numbers and warm bodies for more bad numbers and warm bodies. I’m hopeful of slight improvement, at best.

      • Tim

        The FO never envisioned having to play Lillibridge EVERYDAY. The Barney injury forced their hand. Logan Watkins is hitting .250 at triple A, and has never played 3rd.

        Gillispie, while an interesting name, is on a team struggling to score runs, and he isn’t even playing everyday. How much of an upgrade would he have been to what we have? Plus we would have had to trade something to get him, even if it was minimal.

        Gregg was lights out in spring training, has pitched at the end of ball games before, and pitched at the major league level for a playoff team last year. Loe, has had effective years in middle relief. Ransom, has more defensive flexibility than Lillibridge. Neither of them can hit, why not at least have someone who takes pitches and can play SS.

        The bottom line, it doesn’t cost the Cubs anything to bring these guys in. The guys that went out the door blew chunks. Why get worked up about minor moves. The Cubs are hoping to catch lightening in a bottle with one of these guys. Maybe one of them can be a useful major league player. If not, what have we loss? Are you going to miss Takashasi? Lillibridge? I won’t

        • TWC

          This is all part of Theo’s plan. He’s wanted Gregg as his closer for years, and he re-signed him (and brought him directly to the big league team) to show all you jerks that he’s better than Hendry. Seems like Theo has a huge inferiority complex coming in to the Cubs’ FO.

          /Die hard

          • Cubbie Blues

            Maybe Latroy Hawkins is available.

            • TWC

              Don’t you dare say that name again.

              • chrisfchi

                i just shat myself seeing this. please nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

    • Cubbie Blues

      I pick the poop.

  • Mike

    Ransom’s strike out rate, for his career, is just under one strike-out for every three plate appearances. Last year, he had 109 Ks in 282 plate appearances. Guess he came to the Cubs for his decent glove at 2nd and SS, and can fill in pretty well at 1st. His numbers at 3rd base are not so hot. Slight edge, in my opinion, over Lillibridge in the fielding department only. Their bats look to be about equal. Maybe Ransom can hit the occasional HR, maybe.

  • another JP

    Don’t see what the whining is about on these moves… Gregg and Ransom will disappear when Garza and Stewie are reinstated, which will be in several weeks. As the 24th & 25th players on the squad, they aren’t the reason we’re mired in the cellar.

    • Rebuilding

      Well, Lillibridge was a -0.6 WAR in only nine games and Takahashi lost a game on his own so 6-6 would have been better. Every roster spot should be precious. A team with the resources of the Cubs should never be playing below replacement level players. It’s inexcusable. Sure, we can say oh who cares they suck anyway, but how do you have any faith they’ll build a decent bench or bullpen when we are competitive? Our bullpen now consists of a guy we can’t give away, a guy no one else wanted, a Rule 5 pick, a guy who just helped set a ML record for wild pitches in an inning, and James Russell. That bullpen has cost is at least 2 and probably 3 games

  • Cub2014

    On a higher note Ryan Sweeney, he has a career .280 avg
    Even better when he gets 250+ AB. Better then David Dejesus
    (My guess is his wife is not as hot) So when DeJesus is traded
    Sweeney will take his place.

    • another JP

      IMO Sappelt has about two weeks until he gets sent to Iowa and Sweeney is brought up. DS is Lillibridge bad right now.

      • DarthHater

        “DS is Lillibridge bad right now.”

        We should add a new word to the baseball lexicon: “Lillibad.”

        • another JP

          Niiice. Only problem is that it applies to half our line-up.

  • ISU Birds

    Isn’t Kevin Gregg like 60?

  • RicoSanto

    I am glad that Lillibridge was let go, he was awful. I thought he was Sveum’s buddy.

  • 1ski

    kevin gregg wtf????

  • Blake

    Theo, bullpen problems are not solved by waiver pick ups and free agent signing 2 weeks into the season. If our farm team is so bad you can’t call guys up get rid of the
    . If Trey McNutt or Dolis or anyone in the farm system can’t beat Kevin Gregg out trade then why continue to have them in the system! If you would rather have Cody Ransom than Josh Vitters, trade him. Another question if your losing and your best outfield is getting pointless ABs in Iowa, why can’t we lose and have him get meaningful ABs in Chicago. Not impressed Theo and Jed! Point is we are defiantly losing the next 2 years! Play the kids and find out what you have!

  • JDBlades

    Damn, Ransom struck out 109 times in 256 plate appearances in 2012. I know he is only here until Stewart comes back but WTF. Brett Jackson’s looking pretty compared to this douche.

    • DarthHater

      Based on Jackson’s 2012 ML stats, he would have struck out 117 times in the same number of plate appearances that Ransom had.

  • Dan

    Warm Bodies that have experience – that’s all-Lillibridge sucks and the 25Th man on a roster doesn’t matter