It sure seemed very likely given the fact that he wasn’t throwing off of the mound yet thanks to a wrist issue, but it’s now a lock that lefty Xavier Cedeño will not be ready for the start of the season.
LHP Xavier Cedeno expected to miss 7-10 days with wrist injury, not expected to be ready for start of season
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 10, 2019
There’s a whole lot to like about Cedeño, 32, and his fit for a bullpen that might not have much in the way of reliable lefties (outside of Mike Montgomery, but he’s more of a swing man). Although he’s not on a fully-guaranteed contract, I probably would have given him the edge, all else equal, to win a spot over Brian Duensing, for example.
Now, it seems very likely that Cedeño will begin the season on the Injured List, and Duensing’s chance to be the primary non-Montgomery lefty in the bullpen is very high. He’ll get a chance to show he can hold down the spot while Cedeño readies himself for the season (if he gets that far). Here’s how we discussed this issue when Cedeño’s wrist probably first popped up:
Of course, given the state of the extremely crowded bullpen competition, there was never a guarantee that the Cubs would carry either lefty out of the chute. The way I broke it down – assuming health – is that the Cubs have five obvious guys for the eight spots (Cishek, Montgomery, Strop, Edwards, Brach), and then four guys at that next tier for the final three spots (Cedeño, Duensing, Kintzler, Chatwood). If the Cubs aren’t dumping Kintzler and Chatwood, that would mean just one spot for a lefty like Duensing or Cedeño. But that “battle” would come to pass only if NONE of the other multiple dozens of options shows enough this Spring that the Cubs decide they are going to carry the “best” arms, rather than just the ones they can’t shuffle to AAA.
Speaking of which, and just for reference: although Cedeño’s contract is not fully guaranteed, he *is* on the 40-man roster, and does *not* have minor league options remaining. That more or less means Cedeño is making the club on Opening Day, is headed to the Injured List, or is going to be let go.