On Friday, manager Dale Sveum and the Cubs front office whittled down the team roster to 35 players. That calculated out to 10 being sent to minor league camp and Chris Rusin officially being optioned to Triple A Iowa. It appears there are just two spots, one in the pen and one in the infield, that remain up for grabs with the Cubs 10 men over the 25 man roster limit now.
Rusin had made the team on my projections, but unfortunately for him my name is not Sveum or Theo Epstein. The lefty had a Spring performance worthy of a shot at the rotation, but also had a chance to make the team as the second south paw in the bullpen. With this move it appears the Cubs front office continues to see Rusin’s future in the Majors as a starter, and being sent to Iowa will allow him to continue to get innings under his belt as a starting pitcher.
The pitching corps that joined Rusin as those no longer in the running include Jensen Lewis, Blake Parker, and Jaye Chapman. That leaves four ball tossers competing for what is assumed to be the final bullpen job: Hisanori Takahashi, Rafael Dolis, Zach Putnam, and Cory Wade. From this quartet, only Dolis is currently on the 40 man roster, meaning if any of the other three were to make the team, the Cubs would have to make room on the 40 man. As mentioned in my projection, I wanted to lean toward Takahashi over Rusin if the roster limit was a non issue. Now it is looking more and more like the front office will be making moves unless Dolis is the winner. I am still in favor of having a second lefty in the pen, so my vote would be for Takahashi. A pick up off of the waiver wire should also not be left out of the conversation. Shawn Camp says hello.
Brian Bogusevic appears to be the snub of the Spring, as he was part of the contingent of position players assigned to minor league camp. The Illinois native practically hit everything in sight, sporting a plus .400 average this Spring. But in an outfield that already features lefties David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz, combined with the fact that Bogusevic is not on the 40 man, the Oak Lawn product will not be suiting up for the hometown team on Opening Day.
Bogusevic is joined by Brad Nelson, Edwin Maysonet, Johermyn Chavez, and Darnell McDonald as the position players cut. Maysonet and McDonald basically lost out to Brent Lillibridge and Dave Sappelt at their respective position battles. With Maysonet no longer in consideration and with a back up infield spot still up for grabs, the attention turns to Alberto Gonzalez and Steve Clevenger. The Cubs third string catcher provides an interesting twist to the situation, as the former infielder now turned catcher is being asked to take some reps in the infield again. Clevenger also provides a left handed infield bat and the fact that he is already on the 40 man means the Cubs would not have to make a roster move to include him on the Opening Day roster.
Just as intriguing as the question marks over the remaining roster spots is the potential for the corresponding 40 man roster moves, and the answer to that wondering should begin to become a little clearer in these final days of March.
Topics: Alberto Gonzalez, Blake Parker, Brad Nelson, Brian Bogusevic, Chicago Cubs, Chris Rusin, Cory Wade, Dale Svuem, Darnell McDonald, Edwin Maysonet, Hisanori Takahashi, Jaye Chapman, Jensen Lewis, Johermyn Chavez, Rafael Dolis, Steve Clevenger, Zach Putnam