It's an interesting numbers game. The Cubs have 45 guys on the roster, including the five on the 60-day DL. They need to add at least three prospects to protect them from the Rule 5 draft: Logan Watkins, Christian Villaneuva and Trey McNutt. Ben Wells contract apparently requires that he be added before Spring Training, even though he isn't Rule 5 eligible. Matt Camp will be a free agent. So we're up to 48.
The Cubs would like to add at least two starting pitchers, an outfielder, a veteran catcher to back up and mentor Castillo and a third baseman. They may also want a veteran reliever and a Rule 5 pick. So we're at 53, 54 or 55.
They may make a few trades before the Winter Meetings, but they're going to need to cut at least 12 and perhaps as many as 15 from the current group.
The good news is that they have that many marginal players. The bad news is they need to decide who to keep, who to DFA and re-sign to a minor-league contract and who to release.
Marcelo Carreno is also Rule V eligible so they might need to make room for him even though he's never pitched as high as AA.
My non-tenders would be (3):
Free Agent (1):
Waiver candidates (4):
Strong Trade or "other" candidates(4):
Bryan LaHair (Japan or traded)
So there are 12 guys who could move out of the way and it wouldn't really hurt the team. Cardenas is a "nice" player but he's not worth keeping around if they aren't going to get him into major league games. I do not believe in Joe Mather. Campana has to find a way to get on base in order to be useful. He doesn't walk, can't bunt, and doesn't have the contact skills to do that now. Once they start signing free agents, they can look at who they have and waive players appropriately. They really only need 3 or 4 free spots for sure entering free agency.