Today, with just 10 days remaining before the end of Spring Training, the Chicago Cubs announced their latest round of roster cuts:
- Jake Buchanan, RHP
- Jeimer Candelario, 3B
- Dylan Floro, RHP
- Jim Henderson, RHP (released)
- Alec Mills, RHP
- Williams Perez, RHP
- David Rollins, LHP
What immediately jumps out at me is probably the same thing that immediately jumps out at you: even after top prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Jeimer Candelario were sent out from camp, Ian Happ remains with the big league club.
To be sure, he’s not going to make the big league team out of Spring Training. Even if there were a handful of injuries, I don’t see it. But what it does mean is that he’s clearly as close to a near-term big leaguer as we suspect he is, and the Cubs want him to continue to get work with the big league coaching staff. Eventually, he’ll head to the minors to begin his season, but the future is wide open (well, subject to the extreme density of the roster ahead of him).
As for Candelario, he’s a big-league-caliber player in an organization that doesn’t have a spot for him right now, even on the bench (not that you’d necessarily prefer that to him starting every day at AAA anyway). Hopefully he continues to stay sharp at the plate, works on his defensive versatility a bit, and lays in wait for an opportunity (with the Cubs or elsewhere). The fact that he didn’t make the 25-man roster at this time is not a knock on his ability in the least. It’s just the reality of a very well-constructed big league roster.
As for the pitchers, none was expected to make the 25-man roster out of camp. Buchanan, Mills, and Perez are starting depth, with Mills probably the most notable name in that group, being that the Cubs traded a nice outfield prospect (Donnie Dewees) to get him earlier this year. Floro is likely now a full-time reliever, and Rollins is lefty reliever depth at AAA. Henderson was a flyer on a minor league deal that didn’t pan out, and the Cubs may simply be giving him a chance to latch on elsewhere.
After today’s cuts, there are 36 players left in big league camp.