Roster as it stands 2 weeks from ST reporting

Cubs are at this point spending an estimated $62.42M on pitching (+/- the reserve clause players and minor leaguers on the 40-man).  Without the rumors and wishes as it stands right now Cubs have a set 4-man rotation (barring injury and recovery of Harden's rehab). Competition for the final rotation spot as published reports hold between Marshall, Samardz, Heilman & Gaudin, as it appears.

My preference would be that Samardz wins it outright, thus establishing that he has made it as a starter with a 4-pitch repetroire. This would strengthen the bullpen as Marshall would fold into LR/Swing/LOOGY role with Heilman and Gaudin could find roles in the bullpen. It appears locked that the Cubs will carry 12 pitcher so the 7 in the pen would seem to be Marmol-cl, Gregg-8th inning, Vizcaino, Heilman, GaudinMarshall and then there in lies 4 pitchers vying for 1 spot; Cotts, Wuertz, Hart and Guzman. I have Guzman without option but do not know Wuertz's & Cotts respective spots. Possible that Harden starts April 1 still on rehab on the 15-day DL and Cubs hang onto one of the four---interesting could be there is a deal here or there.

The position players appear to have $72.64M invested in them (again +/- reserve clause offerings, it will be interesting to see what Soto, Theriot & Fontenot are offered). Besides the ST sub plot of Fukudome's off season workout and move to CF I see him establishing himself as the everyday CF in the first month with and improved hitting prowess. The other sidebar will be how to keep Bradley healthy and able to play through the year. This is where we might see Johnson playing more RF than expected. The infield will have a bigger subplot as Lou has already mentioned the interest of seeing if Miles can play SS in a form of a platoon. Piniella hates a set lineup as it does many things simultaneously; it keeps players earning playing time, keeps those on the bench sharper when called upon to pinch hit, establishes Lou's authority as who plays when and where, puts players in situations where they have a higher chance succeeding and finally it establishes players have a role to play as in team play---meaning you play to win the game.

Interestingly with 12 pitchers, Cubs will have 13 position players---catchers(2)  Soto & Bako toting the tools of ignorance, therefore (11) spots remain. Locks are Soriano, DLee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Bradley, Johnson, Miles, Theriot, & Fontenot, leaving (2) spots between what appears to be Gathright, Taguchi, & Hoffpauir. Here is a disconnect or hole in the depth charts for a perfect world. Hoffpauir is a backup for 1B and maybe a stiff for an inning or two in LF & RF, but not 3B. Taguchi is a RH'ed situational OF'er who played well for LaRussa and like Johnson can play all OF spots. Gathright is a situational base runner and CF'er who can play LF.  Johnson can't play 3B then keeping Hoffpauir would be okay.

That said Captain Obvious (as I have been accused of) is now whispering to me that the rumored Aurilia effort  is a move that would complete the Cubs depth chart as the old SS/2B and now 3B/1B could back up the entire infield in a pinch while providing a good bat off the bench, although SS he hasn't played for years and 2B once last year.That would eliminate Hoffpauir even though he is left handed.

To me what appears interesting is if Garciaparra is not signed in the next two weeks and if I were a GM I might throw a flyer at him for $1M and see if he bites. He could back up SS, 3B, 1B occassionally start at SS, 3B, and 1B and be a big bat off the bench.  It is a WS roster move.

All said as it stands now Cubs are at $135M (+/- on reserve clauses and minor league contracts for 40 man), leaving about $5M for in season acquisitions. This is tantalizingly close to having money leftover for a Peavy trade if the Cubs subtract a few league minimums or a guaranteed salary.



This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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