It seems the Cubs are opting for a few large cuts early in the going this year, rather than chipping away at the Spring Training roster throughout the month. With under two weeks to go before Opening Day, the Cubs have only just dropped their second cut list of the Spring.
“The Chicago Cubs have assigned 15 players to minor league camp, reducing their spring roster from 55 to 40 players.
Right-handed pitchers James Norwood, Duane Underwood Jr. and Rowan Wick have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Twelve non-roster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: Right-handed pitchers Christian Bergman, Matt Carasiti, George Kontos and Dakota Mekkes; left-handed pitcher Mike Zagurski; infielders Ryan Court, Phillip Evans, Trent Giambrone and Zack Short; infielder/outfielder Jim Adduci; and catchers Francisco Arcia and P.J. Higgins.
Chicago’s spring roster of 40 players consists of 23 pitchers (which includes two non-roster invitees plus right-handed pitcher Kendall Graveman, 60-day I.L.), three catchers, eight infielders (one non-roster invitee) and six outfielders (one non-roster invitee).”
The only guys on there who could even qualify as a mild surprise would be relief prospects James Norwood and Dakota Mekkes, each of whom you would have thought could have a shot to win a bullpen job if the injuries keep piling up. Perhaps this is a good sign that the Cubs feel solid about Pedro Strop’s hamstring and Brad Brach’s velocity?
In any case, each of Norwood and Mekkes can help the Cubs this year as up-and-down guys, at a minimum, and each has the upside to be a significant contributor if it all comes together (I know, I know, we say that about a lot of AAA relievers, but that doesn’t make it untrue).
Elsewhere in the cuts, you see a lot of positional prospects who could contribute this year as depth guys at the big league level, and also a few other relievers who could get a look at some point, depending on how the season shakes out.
That’s 15 down today, and 15 more to go.