10:59 pm CST tonight is the deadline for teams to fill out their 40-man rosters with players they want to protect from the Rule 5 draft next month.
With the trade of Aaron Heilman yesterday, the Cubs' 40-man roster stands at 33 players -- so they've got plenty of room to add players they want to protect. This article from the Atlanta Braves website gives some details on how this process works and also about some other upcoming deadlines.
The number of players added by tonight may also give us a clue as to upcoming trades or free-agent signings -- if the Cubs don't fill out the roster to the full 40-man limit, it may presage some acquisitions.
Post your guesses as to who the Cubs might add to the 40-man roster (or who -- cough Neal Cotts cough -- might be removed). Once the Cubs post the full list, I'll update this post, either later today or tomorrow.
UPDATE: From the press release today:
The Chicago Cubs today added five players to the 40-man roster, including left-handed pitcher John Gaub, right-handed pitchers Rafael Dolis and Blake Parker, catcher Welington Castillo and outfielder James Adduci. Chicago's 40-man roster now stands at 38.
Gaub and Parker are no surprise, as they were in the Arizona Fall League and expected to be in the mix for the 2010 bullpen. There are two open spots; this could portend a trade, a free-agent signing or possibly a Rule 5 pick the Cubs have their eyes on. Stay tuned.