ryan sweeney cubsRoster expansion is here, and the Cubs have proceeded to activated a couple of long-injured regulars from the disabled list – Ryan Sweeney and Luis Valbuena were activated today, though I don’t think Valbuena (oblique) is actually available just yet. Since he was on the 15-day DL (which saves you a 25-man spot, but not a 40-man spot), and the rosters expanded to anyone on the full 40-man today, there was no reason not to just go ahead and activate him.

As for Sweeney, he comes off of the 60-day DL, which requires a 40-man spot. To accommodate, the Cubs designated much-travelled, but little-used reliever Eduardo Sanchez. He didn’t get much of a look with the big team, and had some control trouble at AAA, but he’s a 24-year-old with past success in the bigs. I’d think the Cubs would be happy to get him through waivers, with an eye toward bringing him back on a minor league deal next year.

Pitcher Alberto Cabrera also got the call-up today, as expected. The big righty was already on the 40-man roster, having spent time in the bigs last year as a reliever. He was a starter for most of the season at AA this year – to great effect – before pitching a bit in relief at AAA to end the year, as the Cubs sought to control his innings. He might see an inning here or there in relief this month, but he’ll go into 2014 as a starting candidate.

  • another JP

    Hopefully we’ll see the Cabrera that pitched in AA next season. And I’d be surprised if someone didn’t claim Sanchez… he’s had some issues with control but is still only 24.

  • Rizzovoir Dog

    Hoping that Olt and Chang Yong-Lim get a look.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Love the name.

      • Cody Ransom note


        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Also good.

  • Jason P

    I’m guessing this means they’re not planning on protecting Ha from the rule 5 draft, then.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I wouldn’t read that into these moves at all. There are a lot of roster slots that can be opened up once the season ends, and Ha could easily be slotted into one of those. The deadline to lock down rosters for Rule 5 reasons is still months away.

      • Rizzovoir Dog

        I’d expect guys like Sappelt, McDonald, Ransom and Gillespie to be off the 40 man shortly after the season.

    • Ivy Walls

      I am seeing at least a Baker’s dozen plus 1 or 2 opening on the 40-man so the Cubs can protect most if not all their Rule V eligible assets.

      Easy questions to ponder: Neal or Ha? Alcantara or Wadkins, a partial list is though there are some debates about certain Intl players (Amaya and Paniaqua) but here is my take

      Arismendy Alcantara, INF (protected on 40 lock)
      Gioskar Amaya, INF (gamble he is in A if he is actually eligible)
      Justin Bour, 1B (almost hit for the cycle this week, but really who would take him?)
      Lendy Castillo, RHP (some one else?)
      Jae-Hoon Ha, OF (if left unprotected he could be parked somewhere, yes)
      Eric Jokisch, LHP (is he a Loogy waiting for the SHOW?)
      Matt Loosen, RHP (going to AZ)
      Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP (much debate about whether or not)
      Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP (sea gulls beware, could he make a squad?)
      Zac Rosscup, LHP (last vestige of TB trade and another LOOGY)
      Brian Schlitter, RHP (didn’t he already sip a cup of coffee?)
      Nick Struck, RHP (been around and around

  • Ivy Walls

    Question: Who in this dugout will be in the dugout April 2014

    Locks: 9
    Rizzo, Valbuena, Lake, Castillo, Schierholtz,
    Wood, Jackson, Strop, Russell

    Highly probable 7:
    Castro, Barney, Navarro,
    Villaneuva, Arrieta, Samardzija, Parker,

    Fairly or Likely: 4
    Sweeney, Murphy, Gregg, Rusin

    Playing for spots 4
    Bogusevic, Gillespie, Rondon, Cabrera,

    A journeyman’s program or taking a bus somewhere in AAA as an insurance policy 8
    Sapelt, McDonald, Wadkins, Ransom, Guerrier, Dolis, Bowden, Putman

    Decisions, Decisions 7
    B Jackson, Vitters, Villaneuva, McNutt, Raley, Neal, Boscan

    Hopeful recoveries 3
    Vizcaino, Baker, Fujikawa,

    Watching and wondering 5
    Olt, Szczur, Soler, Grimm, Ramierz

    I think there will be a lot of turnover again, maybe a surprise or two.
    I see

    • Mr. B. Patient

      I love your classifications. A lot of these guys are hard to predict, but the one thing I will say is Mike Olt will get every opportunity to make the team out of spring training. His success could go a long way in determining whether we get a protected draft pick or not.

    • cub2014

      move: castro,samardijza,parker, to locks
      barney and villanueva also unless they get traded

      sweeney.olt, should find a spot
      rosscup, lim, for a reliever spot
      arrieta & rusin for 5th starter

      hopefully they bring back gregg and navarro

      that leaves 5 roster spots:
      2 outfielders: (vitters, dejesus, hart, choo)
      1 reliever:
      1 starter
      1 utility guy: (murphy,watkins)

    • marc

      if olt wins a starting job valbuena or Murphy would be gone?

      navarro/back up catcher
      choo/elsbury/Beltran/grandersonwhoever they are expected to sign

  • RY

    How long before we DFA Ransom and McDonald?

    • http://bleachenation Sacko

      Good question in addition to Gillespie, wouldn’t that give us a better look at more call-ups?
      Also have some thoughts on the pitching staff next year. Is it reasonable to look at Arietta as a set up man. If we go after another starter, we will have a lot of depth.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Sacko, those guys aren’t really stopping anyone from being called up. We don’t have a bunch of real position player prospects in AAA ready to be called up.
        We have limited options. They are, IMO:
        -Olt, if you can play him, and if you feel he’s turned a corner
        -Some pitchers for the bullpen
        -Some organizational guys you want to give a cup of coffee to before you release them.

        And i don’t see this FO doing the third one.

    • cub2014

      IMO the dfa’s or traded will be:
      McNutt dfa
      Raley trade
      Boscan dfa
      Murphy dfa
      Ransom dfa
      Villanueva trade
      watkins trade
      Jackson dfa
      Bogusevic dfa
      gillespie dfa
      mcdonald dfa
      neal dfa
      Sappelt dfa

      thats 12 people,(neal doesnt count against 40)
      for april add: lim,vizcaino,rosscup, alcantera,
      3-4 new players (through FA or trade)
      leaves 4 spots: Ha,Jokisch & Rhee
      so I see only 1 spot which will have to be a utility infielder

    • Danny B

      ^ This. Also Gillespie

  • Danny B

    That was supposed to be in reply to the post about DFA’ing Ransom & McDonald. The AAA season is over, yeah? Also, is that it for Sept. call-ups for the Cubs?

    • macpete22

      Season ends Monday. They might bring up a couple more players

  • ShutUp&DrinkYourBeer

    When do teams need to have there forty man rosters set to protect the rule five guys?

  • jeff1969

    I know the Cubs drafted some catchers this past draft, but what does everyone think the future is at catcher. I don’t think it’s Castillo. Is this where the Cubs spend some big free agent money in the near future? What are the possibilities?

    • SenorGato

      I am not a Welington Castillo fan at all, but there really isn’t a guy in the system right now. Wilson Contreras came out hot and has loud tools according to one of these prospect guys out there, but he is only in KC. Justin Marra is supposed to have some talent but he’s sucked this year. The college guys they’ve drafted are more backup talents than anything else.
      Tyler Alamo might have the most physical upside of anyone, but he was just drafted so we have very little on him.

      I’m not sure how into signing McCann this offseason I am. I do like Jarrod Saltalamacchia more than most. Alex Jackson through the draft might be a thing, but it’s too soon to tell. No clue really where the long term catcher will come from right now.

      • cub2014

        I think it was Fangraphs? did an article on Castillo’s
        a couple of weeks ago. It compares early careers with
        Yadier Molina’s and found many parallels. So lets see
        what we have. Which is why I would bring back Navarro
        as backup and pinch hitter

    • Rizzovoir Dog

      Go after McCann.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    If you want a catcher in next years draft a LH power hitting high OBP kid from Indiana named Kyle Schwarber will be available when the Cubs pick in the 1st round

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    No way Mike Olt has earned anything or turned any corners. He’s had a slight uptick which has been accompanied by mixed failure. He’s not getting it done in any category. His power is down dramatically, he consistently strikes out a third of the time, and is hitting .175. Yes he has inconstantly started to walk, but handing him a spot or bringing him up is very unfair to people up and down the system who are actually performing.

    If you look at the Cub 1-3 hitters at the MLB level, they are part of the reason the Cubs continue to struggle and their performance is unacceptable. Handing Mike Olt anything at this stage just is incredibly wrong on every level. Send him to someone who can fix his issue. send him to winter league ball, let him compete in the spring, but bringing him up and rewarding him for failure is just wrong.

  • Matty V

    The Red Sox DFA’d Daniel Bard. He was a mess this year, but I wonder if Theo and Jed might grab him and see if they can get him back to where he was a couple of years ago.