Maybe it's about time to be focusing on what guys could impact the team in '10...
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Posted by Lionel on August 12, 2009.
Trying to keep up with the roster seems like an exercise in futility, but here we go...
The Cubs selected the contract of Esmailin Caridad from Iowa on Monday. While that's not breaking news at this point, it brings the Cubs 40 man roster to 38. That becomes relevant when September 1 rolls around and the Cubs can expand their roster. You can only call up guys from your 40 man roster, so the Cubs now only have 2 spots if they want to add guys not on the 40 man roster. Chad Fox could be moved to the 60 day D.L., which would clear up a 3rd roster spot if needed.
ARam had a cortisone injection yesterday which should prevent a D.L. stint. The Cubs expect him to able able to play on Thursday. He'll play the remainder of the season in pain and he'll probably undergo surgery in the offseason, although he's already had conflicting doctor's opinions as to whether it'll help. If he does, it may mean a delayed start to spring training and/or next season.
Tedders will make a rehab start today and is expected to return to the rotation on Monday, assuming all goes well. I would assume that unless a move is made between today and Monday, Esmailin Caridad would be the odd man out and returned to Iowa.
Speaking of starters, it is expected that Z will only miss the minimum on his 15 day D.L. stint, meaning he would be ready to come off the D.L. on Tuesday. The "problem" is that that's Dempster's normal day and Wells would be scheduled to pitch the next day. I would imagine that given the time of the season and the number of injuries to the staff, Lou might consider letting Z start on Tuesday and pushing the other two back a day, moving Dempster to Wells spot, Wells to Gorzelanny's spot, and pushing Gorz out of the rotation. My guess would be that Jeff ND will be sent down when Z returns.
But as I've mentioned before, that still doesn't solve the numbers problem when David Patton must return; which has to be within 30 days after he started his rehab, or roughly August 21st. One option is that the Cubs could offer to return him to the Rockies, but at this point in the season and the fact that they are battling the Rockies in the wild card race (with the Rox needing all the relief help they can get), I doubt the Cubs want to do that.
The other option is to send someone out to Iowa. Sam Fuld is probably the only elgibile candidate, but with a semi-injured ARam and no other outfield options, are the Cubs going to want to play short-handed on the bench?
Obviously, you'd like to send down a reliever, but the 'pen is full of guys who'd have to clear waivers...except Carlos Marmol. With all the command issues Marmol has had, would the Cubs consider sending him to AAA to rest his arm for a few days and try to work on some things before bringing him back up September 1? Technically, your 25 man roster on August 31 is your playoff roster, but you can get around that if there's an "injury." I think this would be an ideal solution to the problem.
Speaking of roster expansion, I don't know how much the Cubs will add when roster expand; rather it may just be a matter of getting guys off the D.L. without making a corresponding move. Guys like Andres Blanco and Reed Johnson will come back in September.
I'm sure they'll add a couple of arms to their bullpen. It's almost certain one will be Jeff Stevens and you'd figure Mitch Atkins and/or Esmailin Caridad (assuming he gets sent down when the pitching staff normalizes). Justin Berg has pitched well for Iowa and was technically on the Cubs roster for 4 days in late July, but never reached the mound.
A couple of bullpen guys may warrant addition to the 40 man roster. Blake Parker has been the I-Cubs closer and has a 2.37 ERA. He has also been nearly as effective against lefites as righties; righties are hitting .192 off him while lefties are hitting just .226. If the Cubs are looking for a 3rd leftie out of the 'pen, John Gaub could get added to the mix. Gaub was part of the DeRo deal and has been outstanding at Iowa. In 20 innings, he has a 0.45 ERA, a 0.70 WHIP, and has struck out more than a batter per inning. Righties have 3 hits off him in about 50 plate appearances.
You'd figure the Cubs would add a 3rd catcher, but then again, they didn't add a catcher to their 40 man roster when Soto went on the D.L. Either Chris Robinson or Steve Clevenger could be added, if nothing else to allow Geo Soto to pinch hit in games where Koyie Hill starts. Robinson has better offensive numbers, but Clevenger is a better prospect, which sometimes comes into play when adding guys to your 40 man roster.
Bobby Scales may head back to bring some more depth to the infield defense, especially if the Cubs need to rest ARam. Micah Hoffpauir is almost certainly going to return to give Lou a left-handed power bat off the bench.
I don't know that the Cubs will add any outfield help. First, they'll have Hoffpauir and Fox to play the corners if need be. Second, they should get ReJo back in mid September. Third, and maybe most importantly, they don't have anyone to add. The current OF alignment in Iowa averages 32 years old.
The best possibility is adding Brad Snyder, the youngster of the group at 27. He's hit well at Iowa, batting .325 with an OPS of over 1.000. He's also left-handed. The Cubs got him off waivers from the Indians and then last spring put him through waivers to clear him off their 40 man roster. I believe they'll have to add him again this fall to avoid having him plucked in the Rule V draft.
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