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miguel montero cubsWhat with various injuries, fill-in starters, and, of course, the Trade Deadline, the Chicago Cubs’ roster has seen a lot of churn over the past week. If you’re like me, and you keep track of the roster in your head by simply observing, individually, the moves as they happen, you may still want to take a peak at the 25-man¬†and 40-man rosters over at Cubs.com.

The Cubs are currently at 14 pitchers – six starters and eight relievers – and just three bench players: Jonathan Herrera, Chris Denorfia, and David Ross.

  • You would assume that, of course, the Cubs will add at least one more position player by tonight’s game in Pittsburgh, but two things happened late in yesterday’s game that complicated matters: (1) Kris Bryant left with a head injury, which, even if he doesn’t miss several games, could alter the character of the positional player who was otherwise going to be called up; and (2) Clayton Richard pitched another great start, and the Cubs may not want to lose him (he cannot be optioned to the minors and might not clear waivers if the Cubs tried to get him through). It’s very hard for me to see the Cubs going into tonight’s game with just three guys on the bench, but, given those two things, they probably wanted a little more time to consider their plans. Is Richard heading out after all, or is he going to stay and pitch out of the pen now? Will the Cubs move someone else out of the pen? In a series that starts with Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, it seems like the Cubs could safely drop down a reliever, but we’ll see. Will the Cubs bring up a big righty bat for the Pirates series, in which the Cubs face three lefty starters?
  • However that latter part shakes out, it sounds like it’ll be a three-game thing. Assuming he’s healthy, the plan is for Miguel Montero to return to the big league team on Thursday after his rehab is complete (Tribune). He played in his first game for the Tennessee Smokies yesterday, catching six innings. It’s pretty fun to think about the rotational and platoon options Joe Maddon will have once Montero returns, especially if there’s total comfort with Kyle Schwarber playing left field, and with Chris Coghlan playing a variety of positions. How does this lineup against righties strike you: Fowler CF, Schwarber, LF, Bryant, 3B, Rizzo, 1B, Coghlan, RF (or 2B), Montero, C, Castro SS (or Soler RF), Pitcher, Russell, 2B (or SS). And Schwarber’s ability to catch will help keep Montero fresh down the stretch.
  • (Thinking ahead to next year, I get pretty tingly imagining Joe Maddon getting to maneuver a bunch of multi-position talents (especially including Schwarber as a catcher/outfielder) to maximize match-ups and rest.)
  • Speaking of versatility, Tommy La Stella played again at Tennessee yesterday, starting at third base. Here’s hoping he’s in a position to come back to the Cubs before too long (it’s really hard to project how long he’ll need to get into the swing of things, given that he’s missed so much time).
  • There was a little confusion over the weekend with respect to how the Cubs removed reliever Yoervis Medina from the roster (together with Taylor Teagarden, though there was no confusion there – he was DFA’d). Initially, Medina’s move was listed as a designation for assignment, which would remove Medina not only from the 25-man roster, but also from the 40-man roster, and would have left the Cubs with 10 days to trade, waive, or release Medina – a strange fate for the high-upside arm the Cubs acquired for Welington Castillo. It turns out Medina was not DFA’d, but was instead harmlessly optioned to Iowa (removing him from the 25-man roster, but not the 40-man roster). He will keep working on getting back to where he was in 2013 and 2014, and could be back when rosters expand to include the full 40 in September.
  • Ben Rowen was DFA’d on Friday after the Cubs’ new acquisitions came on board, and has been claimed by the Blue Jays.
  • I’ve got the Cubs’ 40-man roster at 39, though it’ll go back to 40 whenever La Stella comes off of the 60-day disabled list. The Cubs will have to make some decisions when¬†Tsuyoshi Wada’s rehab stint is up in the coming days, and whenever Neil Ramirez is ready to return from the disabled list (side injury).

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