Chicago Cubs minors recap: Joe Nathan nears his return

May 31, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Zac Rosscup (59) delivers a pitch during the eleventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
May 31, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Zac Rosscup (59) delivers a pitch during the eleventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Cubs are beginning to look ahead as the trade deadline looms. Having an abundance of talent is a good problem to have, but the Cubs will have to be blown away in order to part with some of the young talent that is sitting in the farm system. Between the trades and September roster expansion, allow me to list some of the additions or subtractions we may witness on this week’s The Call-up.

As a clarification, the Chicago Cubs currently have 39 players on the active 40-man roster. In addition, there are four players on the 60-day disabled list. Those four players don’t count against the 40-man roster until they are activated.

Jeimer Candelario, IF (Projected Path: September Call-up)

Don’t blame me for starting with a layup. Candelario, unlike many in the system, has the major league exposure to fall back on. Before judging too quickly, keep in mind that in his first taste of the show, Candelario only saw 11 at-bats in five games.

There is no arguing that Candelario didn’t take advantage of the stage like his predecessors had, but the sample size is simply too small to pass judgement. The fact that at a ripe age of 22, this is the fifth year in professional baseball for Candelario, I think his time will come.

More from Chicago Cubs Prospects

Zac Rosscup, P (Projected Path: September Call-up)

I bet a majority of you forgot Zac Rosscup was still with the Cubs. Coming off shoulder surgery that placed him on the 60-day DL, Rosscup won’t even begin throwing until August.

The past month has exposed a serious need for pitching depth. Although his career stats don’t reflect the “shut down” stuff Cub fans may want, try to remember that a majority of his production came when this team was a total trainwreck.

If Rosscup can get healthy and show some signs of being productive, the Cubs will have another left-handed arm at Joe Maddon‘s disposal.

Joe Nathan, P (Projected Path: Major League roster)

Six-time All-Star Joe Nathan is currently pitching with the Iowa Cubs rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. In nine innings of work, Nathan has an ERA of 2.00 with nine strikeouts and only two walks.

Cub fans should expect to see Nathan in Chicago soon. If his rehab continues on the current track, the Cubs may look to showcase him before the trading deadline. It’s not every day that a team can add a player with the type of pedigree and experience of Joe Nathan.

The Cubs won’t be expecting the dominant Nathan from the past. If he can provide the Cubs with any sort of upside, the signing will be successful.

Dan Vogelbach, IF (Projected Path: Traded)

There is nothing more that I can say that hasn’t been covered the last few weeks. Vogelbach is in purgatory and the only sensible move at this point would be to find a new home.

Through 88 games, Vogelbach is hitting .310 with 15 home runs and 63 RBI. It’s well established that Vogelbach has nowhere to go since his position is currently filled by Anthony Rizzo. Built like Kyle Schwarber, Vogelbach could be an attractive trade piece if the Cubs are looking to upgrade the Major League roster.

Even if the Cubs call the Triple-A All-Star up in September, don’t expect to see him contribute too much given the Cubs pursuit of a National League pennant. Vogelbach’s future is in doubt, but I have no doubt his success will be with a team in another city.

Honorable Mentions:

Munenori Kawasaki, IF (September Call-up)

Pierce Johnson, P (September Call-up)

For those of you wondering about Matt Murton and his .327 batting average, there is only one obstacle. Murton is not currently listed on the active 40-man roster. If the Cubs make the move, I’m sure all Cub fans will enjoy a trip down memory lane. 

Next: Is Archer the answer?

Minor League Round-up

Iowa Cubs (42-53) 3rd place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division

Last Week: (1-3), This Week: vs. Las Vegas 51s July 17th, vs. Salt Lake City Bees July 18th-21st, @Memphis Redbirds July 22nd-23rd

Tennessee Smokies (11-13) 4th place in the 2nd half of the Southern League North Division

Last Week: (2-5), This Week: @Montgomery Biscuits July 17th-18th, vs. Mississippi Braves July 20th-23rd

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (12-12) 2nd place in the 2nd half of the Carolina League Southern Division

Last Week: (4-2), This Week: @Winston-Salem Dash July 17th-19th, vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks July 21st-23rd

South Bend Cubs (16-9) 1st place in the 2nd half of the Midwest League Eastern Division

Last Week: (3-3), This Week: @Kane County Cougars July 17th-18th, vs. Burlington Bees July 20th-22th, vs. Peoria Chiefs July 23rd

Eugene Emeralds (21-9) 1st place in the Northwest League South Division

Last Week: (3-3), This Week: Tri-City Dust Devils July 17th, Hillsboro Hops July 18th-20th, @Vancouver Canadians July 21st-23rd