Chicago Cubs: Cutting down the roster will be tough


As spring training starts to dwindle down, the inevitable is coming to some current Chicago Cubs’ players – roster cuts.  While many of these players are going to be sent down to Iowa, Tennessee, or even Dayton – some will be trying to fill a void as a veteran free agent signing with another team.  Right now it is kind of an unknown since Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been mum on the subject.  

Some of the cuts will be based on performances, while others will be made on roster necessity. With the versatility of many of the players that are expected to make the team – there will be some who aren’t able to play multiple positions that may lose their spot.

Ryan Sweeney may unfortunately be one of those guys.  Signing on with the Chicago Cubs in 2013 after being cut by the Boston Red Sox, he filled a need for the Cubs as a veteran backup outfielder. Signing a two-year contract – he still has $1.5 million owed to him this season and a team option for 2016 for $2.5 million ($500,000 buy-out).

To be fair to Sweeney, who has been a good player for the Cubs – I’m sure they would like treat him right and allow him time to catch on with another team before the season starts.  Or if the front office could find a suitor – I’m sure they’d rather trade him to get value back.

Junior Lake also may find himself as a casualty of not enough roster spots available to keep an extra outfielder on board.  If the Cubs didn’t seem likely to keep three catchers on the roster – Maybe Lake could stay – or even Sweeney. But Lake is still young (turns 25 on March 27th) and he needs time to play to get better.  Sending him down to Iowa is the best option for him.

Some pitchers who can fill the role of a middle reliever or a fill-in starter are on the roster.  Drake Britton has pitched well this spring and could be one of those to fill a long relief or spot starter role.

Having agreed on a $1.95 million arbitration settlement – I’m sure the Cubs would like to keep him or at the very least move him – but finding a taker may be difficult.

Jacob Turner never had the chance to compete for a starting job.  He will start the season on the disabled list with a flexor strain and bone bruise on his elbow.  His spot on the roster will be unknown until he can throw again after he’s been cleared by physicians. Turner is out of options, and would have to pass through waivers before he could be sent down.

While he could make some rehab starts in the minors after he’s cleared – just how long he stays down there will depend on how he throws and how the fifth starter (presumably Travis Wood at this point) plays.

"“Pitching and defense, regardless of how good we’re projected to hit, I’m really concerned that we do those things well,” he said. “You have to win 3-2, 4-3 and 1-0 every once in a while to really get to the promised land. Joe Maddon ~"

The case with Edwin Jackson is tricky in some ways.  The finances are easy – if you trade him to someone – you’re going to have to pay most if not all of the contract.  If you release him, you’re going to pay the contract.

Is it worth keeping him and taking up a roster spot really worth it? My opinion, no, I would try to trade him and get what you can and move on – if you can’t get a bite – release him.

The tough part is if the front office be willing to admit it was a bad signing and let him go?  I hope they can admit it and do what is right.

Next: Lester likely on a pitch count Opening Night