Today, the Chicago Cubs announced their full list of non-roster (i.e., not-on-40-man-roster) invitees to big league Spring Training. Where there was a minor league signing attached to the player, I’ve linked that report with their name below. That way, if you don’t recognize a name, you can catch right up.
Also, don’t forget: everyone on the 40-man roster is also automatically coming to big league camp. Don’t be the guy who’s all, “OMG WHY ISN’T JASON HEYWARD COMING TO SPRING TRAINING!?!?!” He is. They all are.
Non-roster invitees …
- Stephen Fife
- Brandon Gomes
- Jean Machi
- Felix Pena
- Jonathan Pettibone (that’s a new one to me, so we’ll have to write him up – 25-year-old pitcher, previously with the Phillies)
- Armando Rivero
- Drew Rucinski
- Duane Underwood
- Albert Almora
- John Andreoli
- Juan Perez
- Taylor Davis
- Tim Federowicz
Miscellaneous things to note:
Nice to see Duane Underwood, who hasn’t pitched above High-A and missed a lot of time last year with elbow inflammation, getting a call to big league camp. He doesn’t have a real shot of actually making the club out of the gate, but it does show quite a bit of faith in the young man’s future.
The Cubs have a ton of interesting pitchers in on minor league deals. I mean, I knew about them all except Pettibone already, but it’s still really impressive to see them all stacked up like that. It’s going to be tough for any of them to win a job in the Cubs’ bullpen, given the already-present crowding on the 40-man roster, and I’d expect that several will have opt-outs in their contract that will allow them to pursue other opportunities at the end of Spring if they don’t make the club. Still, it’s nice to have them around just in case there’s a rash of injuries in March, and many will still head to Iowa to begin the year.
Taylor Davis, who’d moved around a bit last year, is coming as a catcher. He’s got what seems like a usable bat in the big leagues, so if he can successfully catch in a pinch, that’s a nice piece to have waiting at AAA.
Presently, your realistic competitors for the fifth outfielder job – if the Cubs decide to keep a fifth outfielder – are probably glove men Matt Szczur and Juan Perez. Since the former probably has more upside in the bat and is also already on the 40-man roster, I’d give him the edge right now. Again, that’s *if* the Cubs decide to carry five outfielders (which they might not, given the versatility of their other players), and *if* they don’t re-sign someone like Austin Jackson or bring someone else in before April.
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 19. That’s three weeks from today. Giggity.