Today, the Chicago Cubs announced that nine pitchers had been re-assigned to minor league camp, and righty Maikel Cleto, a non-roster invitee, has been released.
Four of the re-assigned pitchers – righties Aaron Brooks, Jose Rosario, and Duane Underwood Jr., and lefty Jack Leathersich – are on the 40-man roster, so their “cut” is termed an option. Brooks, Rosario, and Leathersich were optioned to AAA Iowa, while Underwood was optioned to AA Tennessee. Note: when you see these announcements throughout the spring, it does not necessarily mean that’s where the player will open the regular season. That’s just the group they’re headed to join for minor league camp. For now.
The five non-roster invitees who were sent to minor league camp today were righties Seth Frankoff, Casey Kelly, Jhondaniel Medina and Conor Mullee, and lefty Zac Rosscup.
Only Leathersich was a plausible candidate to break camp with the big league team as a lefty in the pen, but he may have been slowed by a chest injury of some sort. Rosscup is coming back from a season lost to a shoulder injury, so he could still take some time. Kelly, Frankoff, and Brooks could serve as rotation depth at Iowa this year, while Underwood hopefully continues to develop. Rosario is an intriguing long-term bullpen option, but likely needs some polish. Medina and Mullee are minor league bullpen arms for now.
The spring roster is now down to a still-robust 50, which means 50% of the players in big league camp will still be cut before all is said and done.