A week and a half ago I had projected the Cubs Opening Day roster. Just a few days later, more players were informed by the team that they were no longer in the running. At that time the remaining names left for the bullpen competition were Hisanori Takahashi, Rafael Dolis, Zach Putnam, and Cory Wade. For the bench job, the surviving candidates were Alberto Gonzalez and Steve Clevenger.
Mar 21, 2013; Peoria, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum during the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Over the last few days, that combined short list of names has been whittled down even further. In fact, the 25 roster is pretty much complete barring any last minute waiver wire additions. Dolis, Putnam, and Wade are all out of the final bullpen spot running, leaving non roster invitee Takahashi as the last in house man standing. For the remaining back up infielder and bench spot, Gonzalez was rejected and Clevenger was the one that had his equipment and gear shipped northeast to Chicago.
Clevenger, who is an infielder converted to a catcher, serves as an option at third and first as well as being the third string catcher. While it is very rare for a team to tie up a roster spot with a third back stop, Clevenger’s flexibility position wise will allow manager Dale Sveum to be flexible with Dioner Navarro. A logistical bonus for having the left handed hitter as the final bench player is that Clevenger is already on the 40 man roster, while Gonzalez is not.
Keeping Takahashi, however, will require a corresponding move on the 40 man. Jacob updated uson the waiver wire claim of Guillermo Moscoso from the Blue Jays the other day, only for the Cubs to turn around and clear him through waivers themselves to assign him to the minors. The Cubs roster now stands at 39, but that does not include Brent Lillibridge, who figures to get the most of his playing time on platoon duty at third base with Luis Valbuena.
For those of you visual learners, below is the updates to my original roster list from March 19th.