Upcoming Roster Shuffle

Posted by Lionel on August 4, 2009.

The Cubs should probably just keep a plane on the tarmac at O'Hare for all the shuffling they'll be doing in the next 30 days or so. If everyone stays healthy, they also will be one over their limit by the end of the month...

Today will start the festivities, when Tom Gorzelanny is called up from AAA. The Cubs are expected to send down Jeff Samardzija to clear the spot for Gorz's first start in a Cubs uni.

Sometime this week Geo Soto will make his return. How quickly is unknown. Lou would love to have to him by Wednesday, but sources keep saying Friday. JH is currently in Tennessee getting a first-hand look at Soto. But what the corresponding move will be is the big question. My best guess is Micah Hoffpauir. He's started only once in the past week and he's 1 for his last 15. Plus Jake Fox gives the team more flexibility and is hitting better (I regret to mention that he now has more RBI's than Milton Bradley).

It's either Hoffpauir or Andres Blanco, but I would guess Blanco stays around until Aaron Miles returns. I heard a couple of different numbers in how many days/games you can rehab before having to be recalled, but the number I've heard most consistently in 30 days. Miles is currently at 21 games, so he's close. Miles had a 6 game hitting streak broken last night and is only hitting .253 at Iowa. The other option the Cubs would have is to simply release Miles or try to trade him, but Miles is under contract through next year (his '10 contract is for 2.7M).

That probably gets the team through the end of the week, but things don't get any easier. B.J. Ryan made his fourth appearance last night for the I-Cubs and he's yet to allow a run. That's the good news. The bad news is that reports say his velocity is still sitting in the mid-80's. Rumor has it Assistant GM Randy Bush was in Iowa to watch Ryan first-hand. The Cubs have to make a decision on Ryan by next week; he either gets added to the 25 man roster or he can declare free agency. You have to wonder if his velocity is low whether declaring free agency would work for him. In any case, if gets added to the roster, you'd guess Jeff Stevens is the odd man out. If not, they roster issue is solved (which may play a role in this decision).

Before the month is over, the Cubs will still have two decisions to make.

When Ted Lilly returns, you'd figure the Cubs would move Tom Gorzelanny out of the rotation. While the Cubs would probably like to keep him in the bullpen as a left-handed reliever, they will probably option him to AAA until after September 1, becuase they simply won't have room for him.

David Patton is currently rehabbing and the Cubs will almost assuredly let his 30 days of recovery run. His first outing was the 22nd of July, so if my numbers are correct, he would be slated to return around the 21st of August. By then, who knows what the Cubs will do if everyone remains healthy, because there won't be any open spots. Certainly, the Cubs aren't going to want to have to offer Patton back 10 days before roster expansion after doing everything in their power to keep him on their team. If I had to guess, I would say a phantom injury may befall a reliever, like say an injury to Kevin Gregg (who is admitting to a tired arm) or Angel Guzman (who has pitched 45 innings this year after only pitching 25 last year and 30 in '07). If nothing else, it would give the Cubs a chance to rest a guy before the final push and the playoffs. If Patton beats Lilly back, Gorzelanny may be sent out and the Cubs could rearrange the rotation until Lilly gets back, assuming it's just a few days, but that doesn't solve the problem.

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