The Cubs are expected to make a roster move later Tuesday; by game time, or likely a couple of hours earlier, we'll know what this move is. It's likely to be a position player replacing one of the eight relief pitchers.
Eight relievers is too many on a 25-man roster; that leaves just four bench players, one of whom is your backup catcher, and it gives a manager quite a bit less flexibility.
Obviously, on a team 12 games under .500, the replacement of a reliever by a bench player isn't a big deal. But since it's 48 hours in between games, why not spend a bit of time this morning trying to figure out what this move will be?
First, here are the likely candidates for removal from the roster.
Shawn Camp: Camp, after having a pretty good 2012, started 2013 poorly, and then went on the DL with a foot injury that he said had been bothering him all year. He has pitched just twice since being activated, two scoreless innings.
Carlos Marmol: At some point, maybe the Cubs will simply eat the rest of his contract, DFA him, and hope someone desperate will deal for him.
Blake Parker: Parker has pitched pretty well in his second stint with the team, but seems somewhat superfluous in this bullpen.
Henry Rodriguez: Rodriguez throws 100 mile-per-hour fastballs, but often doesn't know where they're going. If he could harness his command, he could be a valuable reliever. He's already been let go once this year, by the Nationals, and might clear waivers so the Cubs could send him to Iowa.
Hector Rondon: We're getting close to the time where Rondon could come down with Rule 5 Disease and be placed on the DL, and later sent to Iowa. At times, Rondon has looked pretty good. Other times, he's looked like your typical Rule 5 pick.
I really don't have any good read on which of these five will go. Rodriguez seems the most likely choice, but this management team has surprised me before. Now, which position player will replace the pitcher who's removed? The Cubs have five infielders and five outfielders, and it would seem that they could use a versatile guy who could play multiple positions, including infield and outfield, though that's not a requirement. It's too bad that Steve Clevenger had a setback in his rehab, otherwise he'd surely have been the guy. So:
Logan Watkins: Watkins was the team's Minor League Player of the Year in 2012. His offense has regressed this year, with a lot of strikeouts. He's played some outfield, but is mostly a second baseman.
Junior Lake: Lake's defense is worrisome, but the man can hit. He's hitting .354/.395/.506 at Iowa in a small-sample-size 79 at-bats.
Dave Sappelt: He hit poorly in Chicago to start the season. He's hit poorly at Iowa. I'd be really surprised if Sappelt wound up being the guy.
Reid Brignac: Here's a possible good scrap-heap pickup. When the Yankees acquired Brent Lillibridge from the Cubs last week, they DFA'd Brignac, who was once a top prospect of the Rays. Brignac has never really hit well in the big leagues, but he can play infield and outfield and is only 27. Problem: the 40-man roster is full, and someone (Rodriguez?) would have to be removed to make room.
So what do you think? Maybe there's someone else you'd like to see here. Leave your thoughts in the comments.