ryan sweeney cubsI’m currently with The Little Girl at dance class (on my phone like a jerk), so I’ll give a more robust update soon.

But until then, here’s the gist of today’s moves:


OK, I’m back at my computer and can offer a more substantive take on the roster moves today. Sweeney is reportedly expected to miss three to four weeks with his hamstring strain, which has become a relatively standard recovery minimum for even the slightest hamstring strains.

In his place, the Cubs brought up outfielder Chris Coghlan, 28, who was a nice minor league signing before the season, given that he’s a fringe ML bench candidate (and I mean that in a good way). At AAA Iowa, Coghlan was hitting .243/.379/.314, which isn’t terrible. He’s taking a whole lot of walks, even if he isn’t hitting for much power.

More on Coghlan in his original signing post here. The short version: he’s dealt with some injury issues since his Rookie of the Year campaign back in 2009, and hasn’t duplicated that success since then. He can play all over the outfield, which is a plus.

To open up a 40-man spot for Coghlan, the Cubs transferred Kyuji Fujikawa (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list, which means they definitely aren’t expecting him back before the end of May, at the earliest. It always seemed aggressive that he didn’t open the season on the 60-day DL to start with, but he was flying in his rehab. A few weeks ago, though, he left an outing in Mesa early, and Arizona Phil says he hasn’t seen Fujikawa on the mound since. If you’re guessing based on those facts, you’d have to think he suffered some kind of setback and was shut down for a little while. We’ll see when he resurfaces, but hopefully it isn’t serious.

The Cubs also optioned lefty Zac Rosscup back to Iowa to open up a spot for returning starter Jake Arrieta, who makes his debut today. I’d have guessed that Brian Schlitter would be sent out, but I guess the Cubs don’t want to carry three lefties, even in an 8-man pen. I don’t really have much quarrel with it, given that it’s probably as fair to give Schlitter more of a big league look as it is to give Rosscup one. Hopefully Rosscup will be back up soon enough.

Carlos Villanueva effectively takes Rosscup’s spot in the pen.

  • mportsch

    I was surprised to see that Coghlan actually has slightly better numbers than Sweeney against RHP.

    Sweeney career vs RHP: .286/.340/.399 (.325 wOBA)
    Coghlan career vs RHP: .279/.344/.410 (.331 wOBA)

    With Coghlan, you get more strikeouts, more walks, and more power. Sweeney is far better defensively, so this is a downgrade overall, but we might get some decent offensive production from Coghlan.

  • another JP

    No real change with Coghlan replacing Sweeney, but I’m looking forward to the day Rosscup, Rivero, and Vizcaino finally replace Veras, CarVille, and Russell.

  • auggie

    I’m disappointed it was Rosscup who was sent down and not Schlitter.

    • ssckelley

      Why you so down on Schlitter? He has had 1 really bad game, otherwise he has been good.

      My opinion the guy they should have sent down should have been Russell, but they never would and I am sure he could refuse the assignment.

      • renegade4196

        I don’t feel comfortable with Schlitter, but Russell is much worse. Right now, I’m one to believe Russell is the weakest in the bullpen. One bad outing (Grimm, Strop, Schlitter all had these) is no reason for concern, but Russell just simply sucks.

        • ssckelley

          To bad the Cubs FO overvalued Russell or he could have been traded a long time ago. Right now all he is doing is clogging the bullpen when the Cubs have much better options.

          • Orval Overall

            He was legitimately our best lefty reliever for three seasons. If you trade everyone that’s good because they might some day get worse, you’re pretty much guaranteeing yourself a bad team.

            I mean, what was it about his 1.21 WHIP last year that would have told you (or a smart GM) that he’d post a 1.94 WHIP the following year?

            • Orval Overall

              I mean, there is a lot this FO can be criticized for. But a reluctance to strip down the roster and sell off the spare parts is not one of them. They have been incredibly aggressive at that part of the job, some would say too aggressive.

              • Kyle

                They botched it a bit last trade deadline. There were a lot of parts that should have been sold but weren’t.

                • Orval Overall

                  Kind of hard to credit that unless you know the price. Not every GM is going to give something of value for Kevin Gregg just because he’s gotten a lot of saves after being rescued from the scrap heap. The fact that he’s still unsigned should tell you that.

                  So Russell wasn’t moved. Who else should have been, and what do you imagine it would have returned?

                  • Kyle

                    DeJesus, Schierholtz, Navarro all could have been moved for some value.

                    • Ron Swansons Mustache

                      Maybe or maybe not. You can’t state that as fact unless you were involved in trade discussions, which I don’t believe you were.

                    • Coop

                      This is an instance when I am firmly behind Kyle’s contrarian view of the FO. Although it is a bit in retrospect, it was a missed opportunity to sell some of these pieces off. I suppose the silver lining might (?!) be that Theo and Jed demonstrated they will fold firm to their valuation of a player, even if it ends up being wrong. Maybe they gain some leverage in future negotiations because another GM knows they won’t back down? Yes, I might be reaching here…

                    • Sandberg

                      I think that’s exactly what went on. Teams now know that the Cubs don’t fold and are more likely to meet their price than to hold out for a lesser deal.

                    • Kyle

                      “Maybe or maybe not. You can’t state that as fact unless you were involved in trade discussions, which I don’t believe you were.”

                      That’s a ridiculous standard of proof that makes virtually all sports discussion moot.

                    • JacqueJones

                      I have to disagree that they could have gotten value for dejesus. He ended up being traded for nothing in the end and he was the better player than schierholtz (who hasnt really been good for awhile and atrocious this year, no matter what stats you look at). I think they should have shipped off navarro but i dont think i rmr any other catchers being traded so who knows what the market was like. Its important to note nobody was making any moves last year so its not like there were tons of buyers

      • another JP

        Schlitter = Parker. I agree that BS hasn’t been too bad, but he doesn’t have dominant stuff. A bullpen of Rondon, Strop, Grimm, Rosscup, Vizcaino, Rivero, and Wright has a good look to it.

        • Thiscantbegood

          Just don’t bring Blake Parker back up. I can’t stand watching him pitch.

          You forgot to mention Neil Rameriz, if he’s not going to be a SP then he better be in the Bullpen. I like the Rangers trade so much, the players the Cubs got are solid.

  • Justen

    Guess you are not playing the lottery today Brett.

  • cubsfaninca

    Wondering why they didn’t bring up Valaika instead as he has been raking at Iowa (OBP .452.) He has been playing some OF or could play IF if Bonifacio played OF. He hits from the right side like Sweeney. Now they have Coghlan, Kalish and Nate all LH hitters, so either two of them (or one and Valbuena) has to play against LH.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      Sweeney is a lefty

  • cubsfaninca

    My bad on Sweeney. We still seem to be heavy from the left side, maybe they’ll bring up a RH hitter if/when they go down to a normal bullpen.

    • cubbiehawkeye

      I agree with you on the Valaika bit.

  • Funn Dave

    Hm. I don’t know much about Coghlan, but I liked WernerT’s idea yesterday of moving Boni to the outfield and calling up Alcantara. Oh, well.

    • WernerT

      Hey thanks. I have real idea what I am doing but it did seem reasonable to me. They must not like Boni in outfield or just not ready to promote Alcantara.

  • willis

    I hate seeing Rosscup sent down, as he is the best lefty in the pen. I suppose after Russell blows a few more opportunities they can dispose of him and bring Rosscup back into the fold. Unfortunately, we’ll all have to suffer through it a little longer.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Was Rivero considered as call up ? Decent stats

  • JulioZuleta

    Well, Vitters should probably see the writing on the wall. They added a 28 year old with a sub-.700 AAA OPS to the 40 man rather than promote Vitters, who’s already on it. Not that he really had a future here, but having Chris Coghlan promoted over you can’t feel good.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Mostly agree; though Coghlan is a lefty and far more versatile. So at least there’s something there.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      Other than the fact that Coghlan has had more success in the majors, and was hot at this moment, of course.

      If this is indeed a slump and Vitters gets back to hitting like he was at the start of the season he may very well get his chance later in the year.

    • Patrick W.

      Eh, I could actually see this as a good sign for Vitters. In Coghlan you have a pure 5th or 6th outfielder type while Vitters is still considered a starter and is relatively age appropriate for his league. I think bringing up Vitters at this point would signal the end of his potential as an everyday player.

  • cubsfaninca

    We have some guys who are close to ready (Baez, Alcantara and maybe Szcur) and more behind them but it’s sad that the best we can do is call up another 5th OF even when we only have 12 position players.

    • Soda Popinski

      You can always (well, most of the time) move IF to OF…

      • Soda Popinski

        Unless it’s a catcher / 1st / DH type.

        • half_full_beer_mug

          Not sure I’d like to see Valbenuena or Olt patrolling the outfield any time soon.

          • Soda Popinski

            They could probably patrol a corner decently.

            • half_full_beer_mug

              We’d need a much better center fielder then, or be ready for the gap hit marathon.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      If we didn’t have anything but 4th or 5th outfielders to break spring training with, how in the world would they call up anything better to replace an outfielder that got injured???

      • Soda Popinski

        I’m an Arkansan, too. Hope you and yours stayed safe in those storms last week.

        • half_full_beer_mug

          Missed us by a little more than two miles, live in west Little Rock off of Hwy. 10

          • half_full_beer_mug

            Sorry meant to type “Thanks and you too”

            • Soda Popinski

              haha. It’s cool. We weren’t hit that bad in the Fort Smith area.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Shark to Yankees may happen soon

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      No thank you

    • DarthHater

      You may be a man and an ass, but you’re no assman. 😛