SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Dario Alvarez, who signed with the Cubs as a free agent last November and who had seven mediocre spring training appearances (7⅓ innings, seven hits, six walks, 11 strikeouts), is no longer a Cub:
#Mariners roster move: Claim Dario Alvarez off waivers from the Cubs. He'll be optioned to Tacoma and report to minor league camp. 38 spots on 40 man— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 21, 2018
Just like the Mariners, the Cubs now have 38 players on the 40-man roster, leaving two open spots.
Who gets those spots? It’s long been assumed that Chris Gimenez will get one of them to be the backup to Willson Contreras, and he will open the season on the 25-man roster as well.
The other one? There are two relievers who have impressed during camp:
The Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 38, which would pave the way for non-roster relievers Justin Hancock or Anthony Bass.
The Cubs are likely to carry eight relievers, Maddon said, as insurance against the start of the season that features 11 games in the first 12 days.
They continue to take a cautious approach with Pedro Strop, who is scheduled to pitch Thursday night against the Giants in his spring debut after coping with a left calf injury and flu-like symptoms.
“We’re going one outing at a time to figure out where he’s at,” Maddon said. “We’ll talk to him about it, talk about it internally.’
There are a couple of hints in this article. First, it appears there’s at least the possibility that Strop would start the season on the disabled list. Second, there was no mention of Eddie Butler at all in this article. Does that mean that the Cubs would try to run Butler through waivers at some point, hoping he’d clear so they could keep him? If they do that, they’d probably want to wait until closer to Opening Day, when other teams’ 40-man rosters are likely to be full.
The note in the quote from the Tribune article above indicates that the last 25-man spot likely won’t go to Peter Bourjos (who’d have to be added to the 40-man) or Victor Caratini. Caratini, of course, has options remaining and will likely be the starting catcher at Iowa. Bourjos could wind up going there as well, as a possible injury replacement. Other position players in camp who could do that include Mike Freeman and Ryan Court.
While there were few question marks regarding the starting lineup, rotation or the top bullpen pieces this spring, it does appear that we might not know the identity of the Cubs’ 25th man until later this week or early next.