The Chicago Cubs made the fourth cut of spring training Tuesday evening, as according to Cubs` beat writer Carrie Muskat and Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, the team optioned five players to triple-A Iowa, including some interesting cases in Arodys Vizcaino, Brett Jackson, and Josh Vitters.
After some speculation early on that Arodys Vizcaino could crack the big league squad out of camp, the front office opted with the safe route, which probably made the most sense for the future of Vizcaino. If he can get some innings at Iowa and show he can handle a full season the Cubs will be in a great spot with him come 2015. Remember, Vizcaino is just 23 years old. He`s got plenty of time.
While Brett Jackson and Josh Vitter`s cuts were interesting, they were definitely expected. With the glut of outfielders the team possesses, it makes the most sense to just let them try and figure things out with regular at-bats in the minors.
You could say it`s a make or break year for Brett Jackson, as if he posts another high strikeout season with an average below .230, the road would get a whole lot tougher for the former first-rounder. Vitters on the other hand has hit well at every minor league level and is just 24. While he has certain flaws, he`s shown he`s a better hitter than Jackson.
The Cubs also optioned lefty Zac Rosscup to the triple-A club today, which also doesn`t come as much of a surprise. With two lefties slotted into the bullpen already it`d be hard to justify Rosscup over a guy like Blake Parker. However, it`s nice to have a solid lefty in the minors in case of a trade or injury. In other words, don`t forget about him.
Very solid infield prospect Christian Villanueva saw his time in big league camp come to an end today as well, heading back to the minors where we can expect him to see playing time everyday at third. After a nice spring, don`t sleep on this guy either, as he could get lost in the infield prospect group very easily when he is indeed a great prospect to have in the system.
Outfielder Mitch Maier and catcher Rafael Lopez were included in the less impressive group reassigned today, with the former dealing with both injuries issues and the fact that Chicago has better available bench bats, while Rafael Lopez will return to the minors after getting his last start tonight at 9:05 CT. Lopez will serve as emergency catching depth in case of injury, demonstrating the very little catching depth the Cubs have.
The cuts rounded out with another pitcher, Armando Rivero. Rivero has very little pro experience leading to the cut, but he did flash some potential this spring. After the inevitable mid-season sell off, Rivero might actually find his way to Wrigley somewhat soon if he comes out and shows he`s ready.
With five more players leaving today, the organization now has 45 guys in camp with more cuts coming.