With last week’s introduction of free agency (which kicks in fully after today, when free agents can start signing with new teams), the Cubs’ cleared three spots from the 40-man roster: Kevin Gregg, Scott Baker, and Dioner Navarro. Matt Guerrier was on the 60-day DL, and thus already didn’t count against the 40-man, but you can count him as “off” now, too. That brings the 40-man down to 34. Plenty of room to work with this offseason, right?
Well, today, the Cubs will have to activate Arodys Vizcaino, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Mat Gamel (if they decide to keep him) from the 60-day DL, bringing the 40-man back to 37. The Cubs will need considerably more room than that to maneuver this Winter, both with roster additions via free agency and trade, as well as in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft.
The 40-man roster currently looks like this:
I’ve italicized the players for which there is no reasonable probability that they’ll be removed from the 40-man roster just to make room for others. The rest remain theoretical possibilities – as you can see, I took a pretty broad approach.
Of the gents who are unitalicized, I think Cabrera, Lim, Ramirez, Rondon, Rusin, Barney, and Villanueva are extremely likely to remain on the 40-man (unless an opportune trade should present itself). For the others, I can see reasonable arguments for derostering or a dumping trade.
You’ve got to believe the Cubs would like at least six spots to work with this offseason, meaning that another three guys – minimum – will have to go in the coming days. Care to do some roster shuffling?