SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- The Cubs announced eight roster cuts late Tuesday afternoon:
#Cubs moves option to AAA BJackson, Rosscup, Villanueva, Vitters, Vizcaino. Assigned to Minor League camp: Lopez, Maier, Rivero— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 18, 2014
That's Christian Villanueva, of course, not Carlos Villanueva, who will start the year (most probably) in the Cubs bullpen. Christian will probably be the starting third baseman at Triple-A Iowa.
Brett Jackson has had a decent spring, but was caught in the usual numbers game. He still needs to cut down on his K's. Josh Vitters had a chance to make the club as a backup righthanded-hitting outfielder/first baseman, but didn't play well enough at either spot or hit well enough to make the team.
If those two play well enough at Iowa, they could wind up back on the major-league roster at some point this year.
Arodys Vizcaino had an outside shot at starting the year in the big-league bullpen, but reports were that Theo & Co. wanted to be cautious with him, thus the assignment to Iowa. He'll likely be the closer there.
Rafael Lopez started 95 games at Double-A Tennessee last year and could wind up there again. He appears to be a classic organizational guy. Mitch Maier got very little playing time in MLB spring-training games this year; he's 31 and could spend the year at Iowa as an injury replacement, but there are other, younger guys (Ryan Kalish) who could do just as well and have more upside. I suspect he gets released.
Some of these players (Jackson, Armando Rivero) are on tonight's list to play in Surprise, probably one last big-league spring game before they officially report to minor-league camp. These moves leave 45 players in camp. I would expect another round of cuts soon, possibly as early as tomorrow.