Monday, March 22, 2010

The Roster: Where to we stand?

I've been out of commission much of the weekend...but I'm back.

The Cubs played to a 1-1 tie in ten innings yesterday...a game started by Carlos Silva, who gave up the only run in two innings of work.  Silva was taken out after the second inning because he had a sore quad in his right leg.

Today Spellcheck gets another start as he tries to convince everyone that he is a better option than Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva.


So what is the state of the roster?

25 spots...but only a few of those spots are still up for grabs.

Position players?

Starters are looking like this.


Ok...looking at this, it appears like Fontenot has the spot won at second base, at least in the short term until he starts sucking again.

The bench?

If Piniella had his way, there would be 6 bench spots available...but it looks like pitching coach Larry Rothschild is insisting on 12 pitchers on the roster, so that leaves only 5 bench spots, which is what we've been projecting all year anyway.

Jeff Baker is on the team.
Koyie Hill is on the team.
Now we have a bunch of questions.  Will the Cubs put Nady on the DL and let him play in the minors as he rehabs?  I'm not sure the Cubs want to have him on the roster if he can't play in the field...but this is the Cubs, so I suppose we should fully expect them to put a player on the bench who can't play in the field.

Micah Hoffpauir, Sam Fuld, Chad Tracy, Kevin Millar, Andres Blanco, Darwin Barney, Bobby Scales, Jim Adduci....and unfortunately, Tyler Colvin (who has played so well that he's now been added into the conversation) are then battling for those last two spots.

Unforturnately?  Yes...because the Cubs could feel inclined to put this talented kid on the bench...but he just isn't going to get much playing time there, and that would be a shame.  He should play everyday...and should do that at Iowa. 

If Fontenot can backup Theriot at shortstop, that would eliminate Andy White.  There have been whispers about Darwin Barney (whose name just cracks me up to no end) being a backup for Theriot, but I don't see it.  If Theriot would go onto the DL at some point, they may pick Barney over Blanco (assuming he clears waivers).  Every indication at this point is that Castro will spend most or all of 2010 in the minor leagues.  Scales?  No.  Hoffpauir is probably out as well.  Adduci hasn't stood out either.  So that leaves Fuld, Tracy and Millar for the last 2 positions.  Fuld is probably a must because he is the only player that could be used as a defensive replacement in the outfield (which is important with Nady and Soriano on the team).

Millar or Tracy?  It does indeed look like one of these two guys will make the team.

Tracy can play first and third base, and has played left and right fields as well.  He's a left handed hitter, and has show that he can actually still hit right handers well (lefties?  not so much).

Millar did play in the outfield this weekend, and didn't make a fool of himself.  That helps his case a lot.  He did play a few games at third base for Toronto last year, but hasn't played there this spring.  And he's funny.  Just how much does he have left in the tank when he bats? He has performed well this spring.  Will that translate into the regular season?  He is also right handed...and that hurts his case a bit.

Personally, I'd like Tracy to take that spot.  I just see him as being a bit more flexible.  But after last season, the Cubs just might take Millar to keep the clubhouse loose.


It is looking more and more like the Cubs will start Lilly on the DL but begin the season with only a 4 man rotation.  So that means Wells, Zambrano, and Dempster will have only one clown to deal with.  And as crazy as it sounds, I think Carlos Silva has the edge right now over Gorzelanny, Spellcheck and Marshall.

Marshall is probably out anyway.  Gorzelanny will be the emergency starter, if one is needed.  Samardzija...what to do with him...ugh.  Today's start will say a lot.

Let's divert to the bullpen for a minute.

Marmol, Grabow, Marshall, Caridad, Berg and Gorzellany are set.  That leaves 2 spots to start the season (one of those players will be sent down after Lilly comes back).  If the Cubs feel forced to keep Spellcheck on the team, that leaves only one spot.  In camp still are John Gaub, Jeff Gray, Mike Parisi, James Russell, and Marcos Mateo. Since Grabow, Gorzellany and Marshall are all lefties, the eliminates Gaub and Russell...four lefties in the bullpen is a bit excessive.  Parisi is a Rule 5 pick and if the Cubs don't keep him on the roster, the Cardinals will likely take him back.  As of right now, Parisi hasn't looked particularly good.   Gray has been hurt most of the spring, but has quite an arm (and he hasn't pitched yet).  Mateo had one horrendous appearance this spring which has marred his stats, but has pitched well otherwise.'t look too good there.  I guess I would take Mateo.  But the truth is, it's probably just going to be a toss-up between these three unless the Cubs feel inclined to put another lefty out there (Gaub?).

Back to the starting pitchers for a second.  Having Carlos Silva in the starting rotation is nowhere close to set in stone, but one thing that is for sure is that he has played well enough to earn a spot on this team.  He isn't going to be cut and the Cubs aren't going to place him on the DL with some fake injury.  I really am quite stunned that he hasn't absolutely sucked donkey balls this spring.  And if Silva proves to be a serviceable 5th starter for this team, I'm not sure what the future holds for Jeff Samardzija. Will the Cubs let the contract for this kid expire, (all $10 million) without letting him, even for a little while, start at the big league level every 5th day?  It appears that this will likely happen.  For the money they have paid him, it seems a shame that he may end up only being a middle relief pitcher at best for this team.

It would have been nice to maybe have him pitch at Iowa this year and really put up some good the point that he might be tradeable.  Oh, but wait, he has a no trade clause in that contract.  (oops!)

Ok...that's enough.  Two more weeks!  I can hardly wait!!!!