The Chicago Cubs have set their 25 man roster. Coming into the day, the Cubs still had to determine the remaining spots in their bullpen. But there was some question as to how the Cubs were going to fill in the bullpen. Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Rafael Dolis, and James Russell were the only known pitchers to be a part of the Cubs’ bullpen. While Rodrigo Lopez, Frankie De La Cruz, Rule V draft pick Lendy Castillo, and veteran Shawn Camp were all competing for the final spots in the Cubs’ bullpen.
Prior to today’s roster moves, the Cubs were believed to be dangling center fielder Marlon Byrd in front of teams in an effort to acquire a left handed reliever. The Cubs have had talks with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, but Byrd is going to start the season with the Cubs. With that said, the Cubs still made one unexpected move on Wednesday while determining the final spots on their 25 man roster.
In the bullpen, Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo were the final two pitchers added to the team’s bullpen. Camp is a veteran that manager Dale Sveum is familiar with, and with Kerry Wood being the other lone veteran, Camp’s experience will be welcomed addition to the Cubs’ bullpen. Castillo, who the Cubs took in the Rule V draft from the Philadelphia Phillies organization, has yet to pitch beyond the Double A level. Having said that, Castillo impressed the Cubs’ coaching staff throughout Spring Training. Castillo has a live arm and features a powerful fastball, and could progress into a set-up man as the season goes along. Rodrigo Lopez, who was in camp on a minor league roster, will begin the season with the Iowa Cubs. Frankie De La Cruz was outrighted off the Cubs’ 40 man roster.
After the Cubs opted to go with 11 pitchers, the team was still one player short of completing their 25 man roster. The final man added was utility infielder Luis Valbuena. Valbuena did not participate in Spring Training with the Cubs. Rather, Valbuena spent the Spring with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cubs’ claimed Valbuena off waivers on Wednesday. Valbuena will be the primary backup to Starlin Castro at short stop, but is also capable of playing second and third base.
The Valbuena claim is really surprising. Because now the Cubs essentially have three utility infielders on their Major League roster in Valbuena, Jeff Baker, and Blake DeWitt. The guess here is that the Cubs will try to trade DeWitt or Baker at some point in the near future.
Valbuena has hit .226 for his career, but Cubs’ fans may remember the 26 year old best as the Cleveland Indian that hit two home runs against the Cubs in an interleague game at Wrigley Field during the 2009 season.