Handicapping the Non-Roster Invitees
Yesterday, the Cubs announced the names of the players who are not a part of the 40 man roster who have been invited to compete for a big league job in spring training. The list is:
Nine pitchers – righthanders Marco Carrillo, Manuel Corpas, Jay Jackson, Rodrigo Lopez, Trey McNutt, Blake Parker and Dae-Eun Rhee and lefthanders Trever Miller and Chris Rusin.
Three catchers – Michael Brenly, Jason Jaramillo and Blake Lalli.
Five infielders – Alfredo Amezaga, Edgar Gonzalez, Jonathan Mota, Bobby Scales and Matt Tolbert
Four outfielders – Jim Adduci, Jae-Hoon Ha, Brett Jackson and Joe Mather.
For those not familiar with the process, for a player to be on the active roster during the season, they must be on the 40 man roster and for a player to be removed from that 40 man roster they must be placed on irrevocable waivers. What that means is that the process to just add and remove a player from the 40 man roster is not one that is done flippantly. Another caveat is the fact that anyone with a big league contract must be on the 40 man roster. All that being said, the Cubs roster stands at 40 players right now, which means for someone from this list to be added out of camp someone else must be removed.
Before we break down the names on the list above that have a shot, we first need to examine the 40 man roster as it stands currently and look for potential openings.
At the catcher position, the Cubs are carrying three names. Geovany Soto is a lock as is top catching prospect Wellington Castillo. Steve Clevenger occupies the other spot and could be removed without consequence should one of the names above warrant the spot. I would strike Brenly’s name right off the top as he’s only on the list because of his last name. I would also strike Lalli’s name because I see him primarily as a first baseman. That just leaves Jaramillo who some feel has a decent chance of opening the year as the backup catcher to allow Castillo to continue to develop. Personally, I like the versatility that Clevenger brings to the table over Jaramillo. He’s played primarily at the catcher position in the minors, but has also seen a fair share of time at third as well as second. Jaramillo is strictly a catcher. I’m a fan of versatility so I give the nod to Clevenger, but it’s going to be a battle for that spot on the 40 man.
Looking at the infielders on the 40 man roster, there’s really only one name with the potential to be removed, Junior Lake. To be honest, I’m not sure why he was given a spot on the 40 man roster over Ryan Flaherty. As a result, Flaherty was selected in the Rule 5 draft. Unfortunately, the names invited to camp are less than impressive. If I had to lay odds I’d give Bobby Scales the best shot at making the team out of camp, but that’s a very outside chance.
The outfield, much like the infield, is involved in a decent sized log jam. Barring a trade before opening day, the only names I could see that would make sense to remove from the 40 man would be Tony Campana or Dave Sappelt, who was brought in as part of the Sean Marshall deal this off-season. Considering the fact that Sappelt was just brought in, it’s hard to imagine he’d immediately be out so that leaves just Campana, but his job appears safe. Jackson is the obvious name that will eventually be part of this team, but he’s not coming up without a place to play every day. Ha is too young at this point so that Adduci and Mather, neither of which deserve a spot. Not really much intrigue in the outfield just yet unless Brett Jackson plays himself into a job.
That leaves the pitchers, which is anyone’s guess. The names that stand out on the list for me are Miller, who was just signed and could provide a veteran lefty presence in the pen if he has anything left in the tank, and Lopez who may have shown enough last year to earn a shot to at least show what he can do as a long man out of the pen. Personally, I’ve always been a Jay Jackson guy, so I’d love to see him come into spring guns blazing and earn himself a job, but it’s a long shot. There are definitely spots available, with a name like Casey Weathers holding down a spot he probably doesn’t deserve.
Overall, nothing overly intriguing about the list, but there are definitely spots to be had should someone reach out and grab them.