40-Man Roster Moves: The Skinny On What Went Down

I’ll start out by apologizing for the delayed analysis from the 40 man roster deadline a few days ago. Our network was experiencing technical difficulties but is now back in working order!

As the 40 man roster deadline passes in preparation for the Rule 5 draft, the Cubs have made some interesting moves in order to preserve some players and let others go.

In short, here’s what went down:

Great! Looks swell. Lets play ball.

As much as I wish that were true, there was a lot more going on here than just a few additions and subtractions of players.

Shockingly, Ian Stewart was kept on the roster which leads me to believe the Cubs wont quit on him just yet. He’s been out for the majority of 2012 with a nagging wrist injury (which has plagued him since 2005) and needed surgery in order to repair the damage. The Cubs paid $2.24 million for his services (or lack thereof) last season and he will go to arbitration with the team this winter. The Cubs clearly still see value in his role at third base and have faith in his full recovery, or else they would have either moved him or DFA’d him by now in order to free up an extra 40 man roster spot.

Aug 7, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; A general view of the Chicago Cubs dugout during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

The retention of Steve Clevenger was also a bit of a surprise. Clev is an outstanding catcher and will develop in to a big league starter once day, but with Wellington Castillo as the starting man behind the plate, why sign another backup catcher in Dioner Navarro pre-deadline? While most teams do have 3 catchers on their 40 man roster’s, it just seems off.  We all made the assumption that Clevenger would be omitted from the list and certainly picked by another team during the rule 5 draft once the signing of Navarro was made official. Maybe Theo and Jed have a plan for him somewhere down the road, but as of right now, it’s all quite peculiar.

Casey Coleman was another player who was kept on that list who I didn’t really see staying. Coleman really isn’t anything special on the mound, and the omission of Nick Struck (MiLB pitcher of the year) is what makes the retention of Coleman even more strange. Toss in the addition of Trey McNutt to the 40-man roster and you’ve got yourself an interesting mish-mash of young pitchers.

Baseball instinct says remove Coleman and add Struck and McNutt to the roster, but the logic behind keeping Coleman is a little confusing… so stay with me. Coleman is a little more experienced than Struck, and Struck has show some control issues as of late. McNutt however, could be held in the same vain as Struck, being a young prospect with an extremely high ceiling despite being known for velocity issues at times. The Cubs felt you keep the lower-ceiling, safer bet guy in Coleman and then decide between McNutt and Struck based on their skill. The Cubs liked the look of McNutt better, and I agree, but I still would have rather had both Struck and McNutt protected.

Logan Watkins and Christian Villanueva being added to the 40 man was almost a sure thing. Both guys are high quality prospect and will have value either on the field or as trade chips in the future. The addition of Robert Whitenack was a surprise but can be explained by a natural talent guy who’s worked hard and shows potential. Nothing wrong with rewarding him with a 40 man roster spot.

Carlos Gutierrez being waived is just simple front office management. A spot needed to be freed up, and Guiterrez would (and did) clear waivers. Nothing of substance to look in to here.

The Jake Brigham deal is essentially a by-product of needing another 40-man roster spot, and getting Garret Loux in return is a nice little treat. Both pitchers are comparable in skill, mix and delivery, but if I had to pick one over another? I’d take Loux. His mechanics are just a little bit more sound and consistency is something that takes a long time for any young pitcher to develop.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section below or lets chat on twitter.

Topics: 2012, 40 Man Roster, Chicago Cubs, Rule 5

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