In what has been an exciting offseason where many new faces have been added to the Cubs’ roster, there are still moves left to be made.
It’s easy to get caught up in speculation, but this goes without counting the Michael Bourn rumors that are floating about the baseball universe right now. The Cubs’ current 40-man roster stands at 40 with Carlos Villanueva still needing to be added pending a physical.
Naturally, this means the Cubs have a few options on the table on how they want to clear up that spot on the 40-man roster.
Waive a player:
The Cubs could simply remove a player from their roster and risk losing them to another team on waivers. This isn’t as simple as it may seem as many teams would likely scoop up whomever would be waived, as most players on the 40-man right now have some value overall. A couple of waiver candidates include Hector Rondon, Tony Campana, Lendy Castillo, Josh Vitters, Steve Clevenger and Chris Rusin.
The first 4 of these options would be the least likely to go, as Rondon was just claimed from the Rule 5 draft and it would be useless to simply claim him and waive him immediately after. The remaining three would be almost certainly claimed by another team and that would be a loss with no return, something the Cubs are not in the business of doing.
Steve Clevenger poses an interesting case as the Cubs are in possession of 3 catchers as of right now (Dioner Navarro and Welington Castillo.) Castillo will likely be the starting backstop for the Cubs and Navarro would play a backup role, which means that Clevenger is, in theory, expendable. This logic would apply in normal circumstances but the vast majority of teams like to operate with 3 catchers in their roster and Clevenger still has value to the team. His waiving would be very unlikely, but not out of the question.
Chris Rusin would be the most obvious waive candidate. He’s 26 and seems to be stuck in AAA without any real progress in his game and he doesn’t add any real depth to the Cubs’ AAA rotation, which is currently chalk full of talent. If I were a betting man? My money is on Rusin getting the waive.
A trade is afoot:
The Cubs could also be waiting to make moves pending a trade. Like I said before, there are many talented arms in AAA and it’s almost a log jam. The Cubs could afford to part ways with one or two of their AAA arms and never really feel the negative effects of it. A lot of these pitchers would make nice trade chips which could then free up a spot or two for Villanueva or others.
By this logic, they could also trade Carlos Villanueva but that’s about as likely as me winning the lottery and marrying a mega-babe model in the same day.
It all comes down to how the front office chooses to manage their players. We can have insight and make hypotheses on how things will go down, but it’s impossible to predict how the Cubs will chose to make room for Villanueva.
I have faith the best possible move will be made with the future success of the franchise taking precedence. Theo and Jed know best.