Rest easy for now, fans of Tony Campana. He's still on the Cubs' 40-man roster Saturday, after the signing of free-agent pitcher Carlos Villanueva was made official:
Carlos Villanueva deal is final with #Cubs. Lendy Castillo was DFA'd to make room on 40 man— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) January 26, 2013
Now's the time I get to say that the Rule 5 choice of Lendy Castillo was a waste of time. Castillo pitched in just 13 games, posting a 7.88 ERA and a WHIP north of two. The Cubs gamed the Rule 5 system when Castillo was "injured" just beyond the 90-day limit; they buried him on the disabled list in and around minor-league stints that had him throw a grand total of 20 innings in seven appearances.
Really, what purpose does this serve? The pitcher didn't pitch; maybe he learned a few things hanging around a major-league bullpen and major-league coaches for a year, but I doubt it. Maybe the Phillies want him back and they'll send someone over in exchange, but I doubt it again.
Perhaps this year's Rule 5 choice, Hector Rondon, will be better. Somehow, I doubt it yet again. Maybe someday, the Cubs will stop wasting roster spots on these guys. Meanwhile, Villanueva's deal is for two years and $10 million. He'll compete for a spot either in the rotation or bullpen, or maybe become that elusive "long reliever" we always talk about, but never seem to see in actual play.
In the meantime, Campana is still on the 40-man roster, though there's still a risk (for those of you rooting for him to stay) that he'll be dropped when the Scott Hairston signing is made official. As always, stay tuned.