The Cubs’ Crowded 40-Man

2013 is essentially a lost season for the entirety of the major league Cubs. Sure, Welington Castillo has looked like a competent catcher, if not spectacular, but most of the young core went the other way or stayed the same. Now that it's almost September, it's almost time for September call-ups. For the more casual fan, September 1 is when a team no longer needs to adhere to a 25-man roster and can use anyone on the 40-man that they choose. We talked briefly in the comments about who might be on the call-up list, and it got me wondering how many people are going to need to get put on the list to avoid being Rule 5'ed away (drafted by another team). 

The list of players Rule 5 eligible is pretty huge (hat tip to TCR). I'll bold the ones I care about:

Arismendy Alcantara, INF
Gioskar Amaya, INF

Frank Batista, RHP
Dallas Beeler, RHP
Julio Borbon, OF
Justin Bour, 1B
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP 
Javier Castro, RHP
Zach Cates, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP 
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF
Casey Coleman, RHP
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP
Willson Contreras, C
Wes Darvill, INF
Antonio Encarnacion, RHP
Luis Flores, C
Anthony Giansanti, OF
Enyel Gonzalez, RHP 
Carlos Gutierrez, RHP
Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
Marco Hernandez, INF 
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Austin Kirk, LHP
Matt Loosen, RHP
Jeff Lorick, LHP
Eric Martinez, RHP
A. J. Morris, RHP
Chad Noble, C
Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP 
Loiger Padron, RHP
Amaury Paulino, RHP
Felix Pena, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Greg Rohan, INF
Jose Rosario, RHP
Zach Rosscup, LHP
Victor Salazar, RHP
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Ryan Searle, RHP
Elliot Soto, INF,
Nick Struck, RHP
Luis Villalba, LHP
Yao-Lin Wang, RHP
Oliver Zapata, OF

Arismendy Alcantara, INF
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP
Zach Rosscup, LHP
Brian Schlitter, RHP

This is where it gets complicated. The Cubs have 40 men on their 40-man roster, but they really have 49 on it. They have 9 players on the 60-day DL that have to come off. Of course, some players are free agents at the end of the season. The 40-man looks like this after those people leave:

PItchers:

Jake Arrieta
Michael Bowden
Alberto Cabrera
Rafael Dolis
Kyuji Fujikawa
Justin Grimm
Edwin Jackson
Trey McNutt
Blake Parker
Zach Putnam
Brooks Raley
Hector Rondon
Chris Rusin
James Russell
Jeff Samardzija
Eduardo Sanchez
Pedro Strop
Carlos Villanueva
Arodys Vizcaino
Travis Wood

Catchers:

Dioner Navarro

Infielders:
Darwin Barney
Starlin Castro
Mike Olt
Anthony Rizzo
Luis Valbuena
Christian Villanueva
Josh Vitters
Logan Watkins

Outfielders:
Brett Jackson
Junior Lake
Thomas Neal
Dave Sappelt
Nate Schierholtz
Jorge Soler
Matt Szczur

So, that's 36 people on the 40, and 7 of them I couldn't really give a shit about. 

If we add the 6 I care about, we've got to get rid of at least three of those 8, and as you'll see, we need to make at least 2 more slots for a backup and a 3rd catcher. Further, the 37 we still have consist of 20 pitchers, 1 catcher, 9 infielders, and 7 outfielders; this year, we're carrying 16/3/10/11. If we add the 6 players I've outlined, we'll get to 24/1/10/7, which overloads us on the pitching side AND puts us at 43. Let's make what I think are obvious cuts:

Kyuji Fujikawa is a TJ guy, so he's not going to be on the 40-man. Hector Rondon has shown nothing, results-wise, this year. He's going to be gone. Eduardo Sanchez might get stashed somehow, but he's probably off the 40-man as is Trey McNutt. Rafael Dolis and Brooks Raley are still fairly young, but just aren't as promising as the players coming behind them. That leaves us with 18 pitchers, which is still high. 

For the two catchers, they'll probably try to re-sign Dioner Navarro, and if they don't they'll find some journeyman backup. The 3rd catcher will probably be Rafael Lopez, who's been really good for the Smokies this year. That's 3 catchers.

In the infield, they lose Cody Ransom and Donnie Murphy. They could bring one or both back, but I doubt they have room. Watkins can play the utility role, and Alcantara and Amaya will definitely be on the 40. That keeps the number on infielders at 10, exactly where it is this year. 

In the outfield, we lose a bunch of people. Bogusevic, Gillespie, McDonald, and Sweeney are all FA or MLFA. I don't really need anyone on the Rule 5 eligible list (I guess losing Jae-Hoon Ha wouldn't be great). I think we'll address this in FA to some degree, so I'm going to leave a slot for -FA acquisition-, which brings us to 8. That's a low number. 

That leaves us with 39 on my projected roster, which is good. We'll sign another free agent OF (Sweeney, likely), to get to 40. That means my provisional 40-man for next year is as follows:

Pitchers

Jake Arrieta
Michael Bowden
Alberto Cabrera
Rafael Dolis
Kyuji Fujikawa
Justin Grimm
Edwin Jackson
Eric Jokisch
Trey McNutt
Juan Carlos Paniagua
Blake Parker
Zach Putnam
Brooks Raley
Hector Rondon
Zach Rosscup
Chris Rusin
James Russell
Jeff Samardzija
Eduardo Sanchez
Brian Schlitter
Pedro Strop
Carlos Villanueva
Arodys Vizcaino
Travis Wood

Catchers

Welington Castillo
Dioner Navarro
Rafael Lopez

Infielders

Arismendy Alcantara
Gioskar Amaya

Darwin Barney
Starlin Castro
Mike Olt
Anthony Rizzo
Luis Valbuena
Christian Villanueva
Josh Vitters
Logan Watkins

Outfielders

Shin-Soo Choo
Brett Jackson
Junior Lake
Thomas Neal
Dave Sappelt
Nate Schierholtz
Jorge Soler
Ryan Sweeney

Matt Szczur

One last thing: there are a few 40-man people that, in this scenario, could get Rule 5'ed. Marco Hernandez, Casey Coleman (who, the more I think about, the more I'd like to save if possible), Nick Struck, and Frank Batista are all possibilities. I'd weigh that against the people we have to keep, though, and just hope that none of those people would actually stick. 

 

 

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