Today, according to multiple reports, the Chicago Cubs really made their first substantive cuts of the Spring, re-assigning a number of guys who came into camp with a chance to win a job if everything went right.
Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters, each fighting for a bench outfield job, were cut, and will presumably keep on fighting at AAA Iowa. That outfield could become crowded quickly, and each may have something to prove in order to stay on the 40-man roster long-term.
Arodys Vizcaino was also cut today, ending folks’ early speculation that he could break camp with the big team. That never made much sense to me for a list of reasons explored earlier, but this is no setback for him. In the minors, the Cubs can continue to bring Vizcaino along slowly, and ensure that he’s back to form in time for 2015, when he might make a difference.
Christian Villanueva was also sent out, which is not a surprise, though he did put together a nice Spring Training. He’ll be the primary third baseman at AAA Iowa, and could be a future big leaguer for the Cubs, depending on what happens with the other third basemen in the system. If Mike Olt is eventually sent to AAA, too, they may have to share some third base starts for a while.
Lefty Zac Rosscup was cut, and it became evident early on that he wasn’t going to be seriously considered for a bullpen job at this time. No mark against him, as he hasn’t had regular time at AAA yet anyway. He’ll almost certainly see time in the bigs at some point this year.
Armando Rivero was the buzz of early camp, but, with so little professional experience, he, too, was unlikely to make the pen. He’ll spend some time in the minors, and, if he dominates like he did last year, he could be with the Cubs soon.
Mitch Maier (injured, I believe) and Rafael Lopez (not a real roster threat) were also sent to minor league camp. Maier may stick with the Cubs, or may ultimately depart for another organization. Lopez – discussed by Luke earlier today – is probably about fourth on the Cubs’ catching depth chart at this point, and could be one of the starters at AAA. He gets a goodbye start at catcher tonight (though, considering the lack of depth, he’ll probably still play some big league Spring Training games before the Cactus League is over).
After today’s eight cuts, the Spring roster stands at 45.