chris rusin cubsWhen a major trade is made, there are generally three elements of the process for us: (1) reporting/dissecting of the deal (we’ve been doing that dance for days now, until Garza to the Rangers was reported this afternoon); (2) analysis of the deal and the pieces in the deal (that’ll come later); and (3), the unsexist part: the roster stuff.

This is that unsexy part.

With Garza on his way to Texas, the most obvious and immediate roster-related implication is the hole in the rotation. Unlike when Scott Feldman was traded to Baltimore, the Cubs don’t have a replacement in the bullpen waiting to take over (Carlos Villanueva). For tonight, Garza’s replacement is Chris Rusin, who is having himself another nice season down at AAA Iowa, but who does not project as a long-term piece of the rotation. It’s possible that Rusin will grab the job, and carry it forward from here on out.

It seems at least as likely that Justin Grimm, the 24-year-old righty whom the Cubs will receive in the Garza deal, will slot into the rotation eventually. He was recently bumped out of Texas’ rotation (although they really needed Garza, they were actually deep in guys like Grimm), partly due to some forearm concerns. He’s heading to AAA Iowa for now, and he could stay there for most of the year, could eventually be put in the big league pen, or could join the Cubs’ rotation later this year.

The other possibility is that Jake Arrieta, who has been starting at AAA after coming over in the aforementioned Feldman deal, will be called up. He’s going to join the rotation at some point this year, I’d expect, and it could come sooner rather than later. Brooks Raley is another possibility, as is Alberto Cabrera, mostly because they are starting pitchers on the 40-man roster.

Pending the team’s evaluation of what’s best for Grimm, I’d tentatively expect Rusin to get the job in the short-term, with Arrieta or Grimm possibly taking it as we get into August. They might not get the gig, though, if Scott Baker – remember him? – is ready to make his debut with the Cubs after a long Tommy John rehab. He’s currently making rehab starts with Kane County, and they’ve not gone well so far.

As for Garza’s spot on the 25-man roster, again, for today, it’s Rusin. Ultimately, it’ll be whichever pitcher replaces him full-time in the rotation (though with so many options on the 40-man roster, the Cubs could mix and match for a while).

Speaking of the 40-man roster, there actually aren’t any implications in this trade by my count. The 40-man stood at 39 before this trade, and with Mike Olt and Justin Grimm added (the third player in the deal, C.J. Edwards, will not need to be added), it’ll soon stand at an even 40.

And speaking of Olt, I do expect that he’ll initially head to AAA to keep starting at third base there (yup). Depending on how the Trade Deadline shakes out for the Cubs (Luis Valbuena could conceivably be dealt, as well as Darwin Barney (with Valbuena sliding over to second); or Cody Ransom could be dealt, opening up the right-handed side of the third base platoon), Olt could be up with the Cubs in the second half. If he stays at Iowa – and stays in the Cubs’ organization – he’ll be the primary third baseman there, which raises the Josh Vitters question. Vitters is finally healthy, it seems, but there have always been questions about his ability to stick at third base long-term. If Olt stays and is not promoted soon, Vitters could be rotated among first base and left field, or he could be sent out of the organization (perhaps for international pool money or a second round compensatory draft pick? I’m just spitballin’).

Because this is trade season, so much of what happens on the roster is contingent on the next ten days’ worth of moves.

  • nkniacc13

    Thanks Brett I wasn’t sure if it was at 39 or 40 before the trade.

  • daveyrosello

    Vitters for IFA money would be a good outcome.

    • Jason P

      Why? Even if they add the max IFA space allowed, they will still blow past the 15%-over-their-limit threshold. In other words, any trade for IFA Cap room would be strictly for salary relief purposes.

      As fans who don’t have to pay any of that tax money, there’s no reason to root for that trade.

      • Hansman1982

        No, right now we are sitting at 14.99%ish of the pverage. There is a reason Jiminez isn’t signing until Aug 1.

        • Jason P

          Brett did the math a few weeks ago:
          Eloy Jimenez – $2.8 million
          Gleyber Torres – $1.7 million
          Jen-Ho Tseng – $1.5 million
          Jefferson Mejia – $850,000
          Erling Moreno – $800,000
          Yohan Matos – $270,000
          That totals out to $7,920,000. According to the new CBA, the Cubs can add up to 50% of their original pool of $4,557,200 via trade, meaning this year their pool can be a maximum of $6,835,800 if they acquire all they can. If they were to go 14.999% over that number, that would still only increase the amount they can spend to $7,861,100.

          What am I missing?

          • nkniacc13

            Moreno may have signed for 600k its been reported both ways

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Just because it isn’t our money, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want them to save money on the penalty tax they will pay for the overage. The Cubs will not be spending themselves into debt, so money saved in one area can be spent in another. However, I’m not sure if international pool money would be worth it either.

  • SirCub

    Great stuff, Brett. Don’t forget to breathe!

  • jpeck

    I thought I saw Arietta with another rough start last night. Hope he can get it going.

    • jpeck

      Now that i look, it was Saturday. 4 ER in 5 Innings. but he gave up a 3r HR to Mike Olt.

  • conysdad

    These kinds of posts are why I read this site religiously. For real.

  • Magicman

    For the PTBNL, the first one has nothing to do with Garza’s performance. List includes odor, ramirez, sardinas. Second is for garza’s performance, which could be cash or player

    • nkniacc13

      kinda surprised that the rangers didn’t want one of those to be based on where they finished playoffs/no playoffs

    • Kramden

      Where are you reading this stuff?

      • Magicman

        PSD. I’m not an insider, just passing along what i heard

    • matty ice

      Wrong. They only get a second ptbnl depending on who they take off the first list

      • matty ice

        Per mlb traderumors

        • Magicman

          I saw that right after. If neil ramirez then that’s it.

      • nkniacc13

        that’s interesting. Kinda makes you wonder if theres a list of 10 and if the take a player in AA or higher then only get 1?

    • Jason P

      Is that just your wild guess or a real report? If what you said is true, that’s fantastic.

    • Tank

      Where did you get this considering Jed just said they the PTBNL would be pitchers? Just curious


    Nice sum up. It seems like the FO is stock piling garbage arms at this point. Arieta and Grimm may never crack the cubs roster. We have a log jam at SP and 3B at AAA.

    • nkniacc13

      Id rather stock pile interesting arms at AAA than have to sign minor league vets to fill in.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      These are NOT garbage arms. Did you just make that up, or did you do some research???

    • AB

      Depending on what Cabrera does, Arrieta and Grimm are better than anything the Cubs have in the upper minors, or have had there for a few years now.

  • nkniacc13

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see cubs make a couple of 40 man non 25 man moves to free up some spots for players they are aquiring

  • Mr. B. Patient

    How many days does Olt have to report? (too soon?)

    • Eternal Pessimist


  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Olt and Gregg to Indians for Chisenhall 3B – works for me.

  • mudge

    Sinking in. This is a very strong trade.

  • Nate Corbitt

    Brett, with what looks to be a glut of really good players on the left side of the infield (Castro, Baez, Bryant, Olt) do you see one of them being moved in some sort of big time deal in the off-season for either Price or Stanton? I would think with his fairly reasonable contract, Castro would be someone that the Rays would covet. And that would allow Baez to stick with SS.

    • Hansman1982

      I think the trade Castro talk will never die down.

      • Nate Corbitt

        I’m not saying I WANT to see it happen, but I think it’s as likely now as it ever was. We seem to have decent OF options with Almora and Soler, so I don’t know if someone would be moved there. The left side of the IF is overloaded, especially now. I would guess one of those 4 will be moved, by the time the next off-season is over. That’s just my opinion.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Cubs way overloaded with RH bats at power positions, need to balance out. Vitters, Lake, Olt, Bryant, Baez, Soler etc.

  • Melrosepad

    Now I’m just waiting to see if we can get someone interested in Soriano and can use Barney as a sweetener. If we wanted Olt to have a little more time in the minors we could move Lake to 3rd and Valbuena to 2nd, or have Olt at 3rd, Val at 2nd and Lake back in the minors. I’d even be interested in Watkins at 2nd

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    By the way I was at Kane County on Sat. to see Almora, Vogelbach, and the rest . Almora very talented kid but I would suggest to him and the FO to tell him to put the mustard away – he was hotdogging every ball he played.
    Both Vogelbach and Almora look like natural hitters with Vogelbach the better eye. Not much else to write about than those two. Amaya and Hernandez slick at SS and 2B but weak sticks.

  • AD

    What was Olt’s K rate last year in Double-A?

  • another JP

    First of all, this sort of return for ten Garza starts is absolutely nuts. Theo & Jed deserve kudos for the guys we picked up, which appears to be 4 of their top 17 prospects. They’ll all have varying degrees of success with the Cubs, but in two years we’ve landed Hendricks, Villanueva, Olt, Edwards, Grimm, and maybe Ramirez for a couple of rentals in Demp & Garza. If Ramirez and another PBTNL turn out as good pieces- even better.
    And the amount of depth at third in this organization is awesome… Bryant, Olt, Vitters, Villanueva, Candelario, maybe Baez. Something tells me we won’t have to trade for OF prospects with the 3B jam. Can’t believe what our farm will look like if we trade DDJ, Schierholtz, Sori, Russell, Gregg.

  • Kevin

    Who determines the PTBNL?

    • nkniacc13

      cubs choice. they have a list of X many players that have been agreed to

  • nkniacc13

    So any idea when the Cubs have to make their PTBN choice by in this case?

    • Joey

      PTBNL have to be chosen in 6 months. I would assume it’ll be Neil Ramirez if he’s healthy and his shoulder checks out. So:

      Ramirez, Olt, Grimm and Edwards for Garza…pretty solid haul

  • Drew

    Seriously, What is with people who say “WE” when talking about adding players. Is Theo consulting with any of you

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Seriously doubt the Rickett’s would be offended.

    • ssckelley

      If they buy tickets or watch the games fans can use “we”.

      • Hansman1982

        NO! You’re not being a proper fan and you’re not having fun the right way!

    • Vulcan

      What’s wrong with “we”? It’s gives sport fan’s a sense of community.

      • Jp3

        The “royal we, man”. -the dude

  • Eric

    The more I think about it, the more I don’t see Olt being a Cub for very long.

  • Evolution

    You guys are awesome…

    Aside from reading it for Brett’s writing and insight, your posts and contributions are remarkably informative…

  • cubsin

    Brett, even with Garza traded early, your 36-hour trade deadline marathon could be quite busy. I don’t expect the Cubs to trade Samardjiza, Wood, Rizzo or Castro, and they could only move Soriano with his permission, but it could be open season on any of the others. Add to that the surpluses at 3B and SS, the huge stockpile of pitchers at AAA and the need to clear 40-man roster spots before the Rule 5 draft, and we could easily have half a dozen or more deals at the deadline,

    • Jed Jam Band

      Not to mention that he will cover other trades around the league as well, since we can define those moves as having impact on the Cubs’ deadline deals as well. I think Barney might get traded before the deadline, but would certainly make the blogathon more interesting if he were still here for it.

  • Blublud

    The PTBNL tells me Ramirez was the medical snag, but that the Cubs want him and are willing to see if he improves. If not, they’ll pick a replacement.

    Overall, great deal by the FO. I can’t complain.

  • nkniacc13

    Am I right in that the cubs have as many as 5 ptbn still to choose? I know some maybe cash

    • Crockett

      Which ones are you thinking?

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Claudio LHP at Texas AA in Round Rock would be a nice steal in the PTBNL deal. He has been pitching strictly in relief but his K/BB ratio is outstanding.

  • Kevin

    Protecting the players at all levels is no small task. I trust this front office to look at every possible move to minimize losing players via Rule 5 draft.u

    • AB

      Alcantra is the only name worth protecting this year, maybe Rosscup. I don’t think they need to worry about it this year

      • nkniacc13

        they will have to do some moves they may only have to protect those 2 but with some players on 60 day they have to have spots for them. so more moves there and if they sign anyone before that rule 5 have to have spots for that

  • nkniacc13

    be very interesting to see if they make anymore trades before the last couple days before the deadline

    • Cyranojoe

      Pretty sure several are expected, but none as exciting. But don’t tell Brett! He’ll be awake for 36 hours at the trade deadline…!!!

  • DGCubFan

    “Unsexist”? I think you meant “unsexiest”. LOL!

  • Kevin

    Sorry, fat fingers