Cubs make more cuts, final roster growing near
The Opening Night roster is becoming a little more clear after the most recent round of cuts. PitchersBrian Schlitter
, as well as outfielderJunior Lake
were recently optioned to Triple-A Iowa. This leaves outfieldersMatt Szczur
, as well as infielderJonathan Herrera
to battle for the last two roster spots.
Schlitter was the “darling” of the Cubs’ bullpen last season, carrying a sub 2.00 ERA (1.88) as late as June 6. But the appearances began to mount for Schlitter, he eventually missed some time due to injury and saw his effectiveness level drop. In his last 34 appearances, he posted a 4.54 ERA in 37 2/3 innings.
Rosscup was a bit of a surprise, as he had been one of the most impressive lefties in camp, posting a 3.00 ERA in nine appearance, with nine innings pitched and a WHIP of 1.11. His demotion leaves the likelihood of the other lefty reliever being Tsuyoshi Wada or Drake Britton. Wada may begin the season on the DL, so Britton moves to the forefront.
For Lake, it’s just a matter of being the “least” most impressive in camp, at least when looking at it contractually. Sweeney remains in the mix due to his contract status, but in my opinion, if Joe Maddon chooses to keep just one of the outfielders it will be Szczur. Even with Chris Denorfia starting the season on the DL, he had a strong chance of making the roster. With that move it would appear Sweeney would be designated for assignment..
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Herrera–who could likely fill the spot of Javier Baez–has some Major League experience. He spent five seasons with the Colorado Rockies in the bigs, then last season with the Red Sox (Theo likes his ex-Sox). But Herrera isn’t earning the spot by default. His .300 average (12-for-40) in 41 games has impressed enough to earn the opportunity
The thing is, with all of the spots–none are guaranteed to last. Baez may fix his swing and be up soon. Kris Bryant will banging on the door the entire time. And don’t count out Lake to continue making noise. The 25 you start with is not likely to be the 25 you finish with.
All of these are good problems to have if you’re the Cubs.