cacti mesaToday, the Chicago Cubs revealed their full slate of non-roster (i.e., guys not on the 40-man roster) invitations for Spring Training. Most of the folks receiving invitations were already known or suspected, but this is the official confirmation. And holy crap, Albert Almora is among those invited.

In total, there are 24 non-roster players invited to Spring Training:

Nine pitchers: right-handers Marcus Hatley, Kyle Hendricks, Carlos Pimentel, Armando Rivero and Brian Schlitter. Left-handers Tommy Hottovy, Eric Jokisch, Jonathan Sanchez and Tsuyoshi Wada.

Five infielders: Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Ryan Roberts, Chris Valaika and Jeudy Valdez.

Seven outfielders: Albert Almora, Chris Coghlan, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Kalish, Mitch Maier, Darnell McDonald and Casper Wells.

Three catchers: John Baker, Rafael Lopez and Eli Whiteside.

Obviously Almora is the biggest surprise of the group, but, consider last year: Javier Baez got an invite after tearing up Low-A as a teenager. Now, Almora gets his turn. Very cool.

If you want to see the prospects in big league camp, make sure you come to the early games. They tend not to last all that long before being sent to minor league camp to prepare for the minor league season, and to clear out some room for the guys actually trying to make the big league roster.

And, before you freak out: remember, everyone on the 40-man (Soler, Olt, etc.) will be there. These are just the guys not already on the 40-man.

  • Rizzo44

    I like the list. Hope to see some good things happen.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    can’t wait to hear the best four words in the english language.PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT.

    • cubzfan23

      OMG I`m stoked… sooo close.

    • Ralph

      Yes, the best four words indeed!

  • woody

    I think it would be interesting to play a lineup of these non roster guys in the split squad games. Put the team of the future on the field all at the same time and see what they could do.

    • cubzfan23

      My thought is what if Baez goes beast mode in ST… never know. Hope to see same from Olt.

      • Patrick G

        Baez did surprisingly well last ST, ya never know

        • Danny Ballgame

          He was pretty amazing at times

  • md8232

    They need a charity game between the minor league and big league guys.

    • miggy80

      I remember when the Chicago Cubs would come down to Iowa from time to time to play the Iowa Cubs. Last time they did that in Des Moines Henry Rodriguez was on the team so it had to been 1998-2000. I also remember Sosa barley even jogging that day.

      • woody

        Problem with that is that the Iowa cubs might make the big league club look bad.

        • miggy80

          Wellington, Rizzo, Barney, Valbuena, Murphy, Sweeney, and Lake might enjoy coming back.

  • woody

    I have to say that the list of outfielders invited is pretty bleak. The majority of them are dumpster pickups.

    • BWA

      Our futer outfield will likely include at least one guy who is currently an infielder. Could be Bryant or alcantara or even baez

    • Jason P

      Dumpster pickups and prospects are pretty much what comprise every team’s non-roster invitees.

    • TWC

      “The majority of them are dumpster pickups.”

      Prolly why they’re the “non-roster” invites, huh?

    • WavelandWatchdog

      Would have loved to see Jae-Hoon Ha on that list

    • TTH

      “The majority of them are dumpster pickups.”

      Much like the outfielders on he ML roster.

  • Mike Taylor

    I’d wouldn’t be surprised at all if Armando Rivero makes the team.

  • Cubbies4Life

    I’ll be there 3/1 to 3/7! Hope the new park has a good area to try and snag autographs! I CAN’T WAIT!!

  • http://BN Sacko

    I’d like to watch Sweeny put together a full season and see what he can do.
    How old is he by the way? If he is any good..well..gone in July?

    • Patrick W.

      He’s 59, but he plays younger.

    • Patrick W.
      • http://BN Sacko

        Age and forgot about 2yr contract maybe we will hang onto him.

    • terencemann

      I can pretty much promise you a full season of Sweeney is slightly below average defense in center to go with very slightly above average offense for the position.

  • Jon

    What’s the over/under on # of games before Almora’s first injury?

    • fortyonenorth

      What’s the over/under on Jon posting a positive or constructive comment?

      • Jon

        That’s more of a proposition bet, no?

        • fortyonenorth

          I’m not a betting man, but you get the point.

        • Pat

          Thank you. I realize it’s nitpicking, but this is my personal pet peeve along the lines of “could care less” for some people. And only because I have seen this misued over and over on a different Cubs blog (what’s the over/under on the cubs signing Garza to an extention?)

          Over/Under requires that the answer be in the form of a number. Yes or no types bets are prop bets and are represented by a ratio of return per dollar bet.

          I also realize that the initial comment was made in jest.

          /end gambling terminology rant

    • D-Rock

      Seriously, Jon? Which team would you consider yourself a true fan of? Please answer that question. Cardinals? White Sox? It cannot be the Cubs. If your goal is to come on here and piss off all the Cubs’ fans on this site, then you have accomplished that goal.

      • Jon

        I’m an A’s fan.

        • miggy80

          We have some A’s fans in this part of the building. Can we systematically remove them like you would any termite or roach.

          • Jon

            Part of me is fond of the A’s because I think It’s just ashame that if we were going to go the ‘El Cheapo’ route we couldn’t do it like the A’s and look for market inefficiencies all the way up to the big league roster so that we could field a competition team now and then.

            • Don Eaddy

              Somebody has been watching a little too much Moneyball….

              Simply put, ideas that were rejected by baseball in 2002 are no longer rejected by baseball in 2014. The entire league now looks for market inefficiencies, which has somewhat eliminated market inefficiencies. Complain all you what about the current MLB team the Cubs are fielding. I have no problem with that; however, if you are going to do so, can you please do it in an intelligent manner?

            • Scotti

              “Part of me is fond of the A’s… do it like the A’s and look for market inefficiencies all the way up to the big league roster so that we could field a competition team now and then.”

              I’m not a fan of losing to win, but the A’s spent five consecutive years (2007-2011) averaging 76 wins and failing to finish any one of those seasons with a winning record. The Cubs have averaged 72 wins over the last five seasons and they HAVE a winning season in there (2009). The A’s are not a good role model here.

        • JadeBos


  • woody

    I was just on the CSN Chicago page and read the Kaplan commentary about the business plan. Interesting read. He mentions the fact that the rooftops have a legal and binding contract that was given to them by previous ownership. I don’t know why Ricketts is making them out to be thieves. His comments about it being akin to the neighbor watching TV through your window and taking money from others to watch through that window was a little disingenous I think. Kaplan thinks Tom Ricketts is being too nice and I am inclined to agree. They are going to resume talks next week and If I were he, I would give all the folks in Wrigleyville an ultimatum. I don’t know why they can’t bring in an arbitrator or something. But going back on a contract or spouting off about people stealing your product isn’t productive. Without the Cubs Wrigleyville is nothing but a potential shit hole and I think Ricketts needs to play that card. But if you have a legal and binding contract with someone then they have every right to abide by that contract if they wish to. Finding a suburb that is willing to pitch in some cash for a new ball park would be real nice. Let the one owner that seems to be holding the cards deal with all the rest when their cash cow is gone. It’s called hardball for a reason. Time to play it off of the fielld too.

    • fortyonenorth

      I think the contract is only part of it. Without the context of bargaining positions and what has and has not been discussed, insinuated and threatened, it’s hard to know if Ricketts’s analogy was apt. Assuming that Ricketts has all the legal advice that money can buy, it’s hard to believe that it’s as simple as the Cubs trying to renegg on a legitimate contract.

      • woody

        The point is that the Ricketts have owned the team for four and a half years,and made some really nice moves with the hiring of this FO and academy in the DR etc., but the business plan in all of that time has gone nowhere. Finally they have the approvals from the city and now this. I guess they never really have had a plan B. Maybe it’s time to look for that?

  • kridertr

    So with the ST invites out, who is going to get most of the reps at 1b when rizzo is off? Vitters and olt get time there? With Lars Anderson not on the invite list there is no 1b backup

    • Patrick W.

      That’s really an excellent question. They don’t have a first baseman on the depth chart and they don’t really have another one on the 40-man roster. Chris Valaika played a few games over there last season. Maybe Kottaras? Wellington?

      • woody

        I’m surprised they didn”t give Vogelbach an invite.

        • BWA

          Vogelbach is too far off to get an invite. Next year probably. Only reason Almora got one is because he has the potential to shine and be on the team by 2015. Vogelbach is more of a 2016 call up.

          • Patrick W.

            I saw Vogelbach play in a Minor League game last March. Last home game at Ho Ho Kam actually. They do that all time, call guys up from the minors for a game. I’m sure he’ll get at bats.

          • blublud

            You do realize vogelbach is ahead of almost?

            • blublud

              I mean Almora not almost. Auto Correct.

              • BWA

                Ya, but if almora is healthy he will end the season with a lot of AA at bats while Vogs will likely spend most of the season in Daytona.

                • blublud

                  I pretty sure they’ll both be in Tennessee around the same time if they both perform. Vogs actually has a easier route as his position is pretty much empty ahead of him.

      • Jon

        Olt can play 1st.

        • Patrick W.

          Hell, Valbuena can play first. It’s just interesting that they don’t have any regular 1st baseman invited. I think they’ll give Olt all the at bats he can get at 3b. I don’t think he’ll play much at 1st but we’ll see.

  • Patrick G

    Totally off topic, but would trying to sign Tommy Hanson to a minor league deal? He’s only 27, which the cubs want young pitchers, and although he’s declined every year he’s pitched, it seems that’s what the Cubs look for for bounce back potential with potential to stay on the roster.

    • bbmoney

      Minor league deal sure. Pretty sure his shoulder is shredded though.

  • Johnny Chess

    Re: Rooftop issue, It’s like selling your house and coming back the next day to barbecue.
    Then telling the new owners but I always barbecue in the back yard. Once ownership changes all previous contracts are nullified unless it is in the sale contract to maintain certain agreements.

    • 26.2CubsFan

      False. I worked at a hotel that was sold from one owner to the next. All of the contracts are not null and void. Our contact with everything from food vendors, copier maintenance, cleaning services, engineering, and suppliers were maintained because they’re a going business. The contract is between the rooftops and the Chicago Cubs, not between the rooftops and Tom Ricketts or Sam Zell or the Tribune. Since the Cubs are still the Cubs, this is unchanged.

      The Chicago Cubs have a contract with Major League Baseball to operate a franchise. If the team is sold, MLB can’t say “you’re not the same owner, we can have a barbecue and dismantle the team” as you propose.

      • CubbiesOHCubbies

        Well if the contract is between the rooftops and the Cubs, just rename the team. Contract voided……Mind=BLOWN!!!! Boom

    • cubs217

      “Once ownership changes all previous contracts are nullified.”

      In fact, in almost all circumstances the contract carries over to the new owner of the property. The same way the TV deals entered into by previous ownership were binding on the Cubs, so too would an agreement with the roof-top owners.

    • DarthHater

      “Once ownership changes all previous contracts are nullified.”

      Right. That’s why, when you sell your car before the initial purchase loan has been paid off, the obligation to pay off the balance of the loan just disappears and the bank is out of luck. I think not.

      • Johnny Chess

        What equity do the Rooftop owners have? How much do the Cubs owe them? That contract is about Voyeurism. There are no laws protecting ones inability to see. There are zoning laws and if someone builds a Skyscraper which blocks the John Hancock tower view of Lake Michigan there isn’t much they can do about it.

        • TWC

          “There are no laws protecting ones inability to see.”

          No, but there is a contract between the parties that (appears to) require that those view remain.

          “There are zoning laws and if someone builds a Skyscraper which blocks the John Hancock tower view of Lake Michigan there isn’t much they can do about it.”

          Your ignorance about zoning laws is striking. In fact, many (most?) planning and zoning codes have sections specifically relating to views and their preservation. It’s clear that you’re not familiar with the myriad development proposals all across the country that have been scuttled due to views being affected.

          • Mike F

            Absolutely, there are a myriad of code, zoning and preservation laws that likely protect them. The building / Wrigley has both local landmarks and as a result tax benefit to the owner. Somehow this always seems to evade folks. And you are correct again, the Cubs expressly contracted with the rooftop owners to allow them to infringe on their product for a cut of the action. All the express elements are there for a contract legal and enforceable.

            When people have such angst for the rooftops they should aim it the man responsible who Ricketts refuses to rid himself of, Crane Kenney…..

            • headscratchin

              That would be the same Crane Kenny who is responsible for the “business side” of the baseball team. A lot of angst and criticism towards the Baseball side of the organization for not executing, but they are 12 WAR all stars compared to the how the business side of the house has executed. I agree MIke F, how does that man keep his job??

              Seems to me that those of you looking to vilify someone should give him a thorough look. From what I’ve read, it sure looks like the business failure is impacting the product on the field at least as much as “The Plan.” Any Sabremetrics out their for evaluating the business side of a baseball team?

              • D.G.Lang

                Was it Crane calling the Shots or Crane only doing what his BOSS or owner ordered him to do.

                I think that the prior ownership is more to blame than an individual simply doing what he was legally ordered to do.

                I think that this is my shortest post ever. lol

                • Mike F

                  OMG being a lap dog or hatchet man with an Ivy League degree for the Trib and Zell makes it OK. He was doing his job and still is really? He is the big media source for countless whiners like Gordo so yeah, he was doing his job with what so many of you call a terrible sale agreement…. Well he is more covert than Hendry, but far more culpable. Then again he was only the boss of the Cubs while all this evil occurred. Blame it on Kenney maybe.

                  • Scotti

                    As I said the other day, blaming Crane or Hendry (or MacPhail, Fry, etc.) is very short-sighted. The Cubs made MASSIVE amounts of revenue for the TRIBUNE and the TRIBUNE had the massive BALLS to provide the Cubs with as little as MLB’s 15th lowest payroll.

                    Again, the Trib had NO debt to service on the team (as many, if not most, other teams had).

                    The Trib had NO stadium debt to service (as many, if not most, other teams had).

                    The Trib (owners of WGN TV & Radio) scammed the team out of millions upon millions in undercut deals.

                    And, during 2000-2008, the Trib say fit to give the Cub front office a mid-market budget.

                    Yeah, don’t blame the Cubs.

  • Johnny Chess

    I hope they use 1 measure in ST – “may the best man win” prospect or not.

  • Johnny Chess

    Almora ST? Moral booster

    • baldtaxguy

      No, it is not.

  • Johnny Chess

    Labor relations and such are part of a business transfer. Once transferred layoffs do occur. In this case it is an outside vendor much like Pepsi. If knew ownership liked Coke better then they would honor existing scheduled deliveries but discontinue after completion.

  • Johnny Chess

    In trying to accommodate the Rooftop owners rather than take legal action the Cubs maintain a good relationship but when push comes to shove the Rooftop owners don’t have much power. There are threats to move or obstruct views or threats to raise revenue portions. Etc…..

    • D.G.Lang

      I don’t think the Cubs can raise their share of the pie by raising their rate, that is locked in by the contract. I believe that the Cubs aren’t prohibited from playing their games elsewhere but they would lose a lot of money by doing so therefore that would be unlikely to happen.

      The contract can’t force them to remain at Wrigley, it is more along the lines of “as long as they are playing there” for the duration of the contract the rooftops are allowed to view relatively unobstructed as long as the landmark commission is there to enforce the landmark status of the property.

      Rumor has it that the contract does allow the Cubs to expand the premises as long as the landmark commission approves of the changes and of the landmark commission does approve of the changes the rooftops can’t sue. If that actually is in the contract perhaps the Cubs need the landmark commission to approve much larger changes to the ballpark which would allow them to block the view from the rooftops.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Not much difference in talent between those on and those not on 40 man among camp attendees.. Renteria could liven things up by announcing on day one that all positions open until final mandatory cutdown —

    • DarthHater

      Or by letting actual bear cubs compete for playing time. That would liven things up.

    • D.G.Lang

      I don’t think the Cubs will do anything that will prevent a high draft choice if they are out of contention at the break. That might include early promotion of players who are not yet ready for the majors even if they can potentially survive in the majors.

      I believe that the Cubs want to protect their minor leaguers from being called up too early but also protect their right to sell off any short term players who might not be viable for the long term.

      Being a 500 or slightly better club with a dim future is not the goal. The goal is long term sustainability of a good competitive team. One of the reasons for all the foreign independent players being signed when they are further away from major league status is to protect the supply of good young players for the future when the team is good.

      It does make sense to grab the good younger players now and wait for them since we already have several very good players much closer to the Majors already. Once the team gets good and sustains the much better record it will be the current young foreign players who will make up the farm of the future.

      The team is being very smart about the sustainability for the future when the draft choices won’t be as high as they are now and I can conceive that if there are few good college players available in the next draft that the team can use in the near future the Cubs may be a little heavy in the high school graduate range to protect that future supply.

      It makes less sense to draft a college grad player at a position we have an abundance of and who might not ever make the team because of that surplus than it is to take a high school player for the future for when we don’t get the high draft choices or we don’t have much depth at his position.

      It will always be the best player available but sometimes the best player available simply can’t add as much as the player in the position of need. This particularly true if the best player available is blocked by another player of equal or greater value and neither player is capable of being switched to another position.

  • Fastball

    I think Vitters has played some first base or has been working on it. OF, 1B and even 3B could be his niche to staying on the 25 man if he hits.

  • Fastball

    Or let the youngsters win positions in ST if they outperform whomever supposedly ahead of them on the current 25 man roster. It would sell some tickets at Wrigley.

    • Diehardthefirst

      How’d you sneak that fastball by Darth? Impressive!

    • Drew7

      You want to base starting position decisions on a small sample of glorified practice against teams comprised of 60% organizational fodder?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The FO almost certainly won’t do that because they know that spring training numbers are completely meaningless. Remember, the batters are not facing anything like real pitching: pitchers are working on getting their command back rather than pitching to batters’ blue zones. On most teams, guys being evaluated for bullpen spots are being evaluated based on how well they are throwing rather than the outcomes: indeed, the sample sizes are so tiny that the outcomes are pretty meaningless, anyway.

      This, coupled with the tiny sample sizes for the batters, is why ST performance offers no predictions about how guys will do in the regular season.

      • baldtaxguy

        Yes, its not “Spring Tryouts.”

      • Kyle

        We’ve seen them hand out at least one job based on ST stats in every spring that they’ve been here.

        First Volstad, then Lillibridge just off the top of my head.

  • J. L.

    So it looks like Chang-Yong Lim did not get an invitation after all.

    • Brett

      Oh yeah. Good point. Maybe he got a minor league camp invite? Also possible.

  • Diehardthefirst

    With Verlander out the Tigers may come calling for Jackson

  • Blackhawks1963

    I’m hopeful for the longer term future but my goodness the 2014 Cubs shape up to be real bad. We might officially now be the worst team in baseball. I look at the potential lineup and rotation and it makes me cringe.

    • baldtaxguy

      I am VERY interested in watching the development of the team throughout the year. Can’t wait to watch Castro respond to a different hitting approach, or back to the original approach. Will love watching a second full year of Rizzo and the hitting adjustments he makes. Will Olt make the team, will he be back to 2012 form? Will Lake regress, or can he continue what he started last year? Will their be change at 2B, and if so, what kind of offensive production will we see? Will Castillo’s defense improve, will his bat be consistent? Big thing to watch is the bullpen and expected improved production. And the starters as well, will Shark make a bigger step forward, will Jackson get luckier this season, who will round out the 4 and 5 spots…? On and on, no cringing here at all, let’s get the season going.

      • CubFan Paul

        No cringing here either. I agree on ALL points except EJax needing luck (he needs better fastball command/he sucked at consistent fastball command in ’13).

        I think b-hawks1963’s comment is shortsighted for a rebuilding club that has a lot of talented youth on the ML roster & in the upper minors (finally).

    • ssckelley

      To provide a little bit of hope I believe this bullpen will be much improved over last season and the Cubs lost quite a few games early because of it. The starting staff looks solid assuming Spellcheck does not get traded. The lineup comes down to if Castro, Rizzo, and Barney (if he wins the 2nd base job) can bounce back offensively.

      Granted a lot of question marks but I do not think this is the worst team in baseball, not by a long shot.

  • IndyCubsFan

    Brett, any stats on the new signing? Lars Anderson?

  • Diehardthefirst

    Didn’t hear any Cubs fans complaining about super sized Sosa slugging skyrockets onto the front lawns of future Rooftoppers. Turning a blind eye to his neck size attendance broke records. History has a way of repeating to bite you in the butt. Will any questions be asked if any of the new kids star launching bombs over the Jumbotron? Doubt it- all will be peachy keen in Wrigleyville again

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  • Diehardthefirst

    Shark to Toronto for DeJong and Norris?