Speculation time! Cubs outright Casey Weathers to Iowa, roster at 39 again

Speculation time! Cubs outright Casey Weathers to Iowa, roster at 39 again

In an interesting and somewhat unexpected move, the Cubs outrighted strong-armed righty Casey Weathers to their Iowa affiliate today to bring the roster back down to 39.  It had reached 40 after the official signing of Gerardo Concepcion.

It's interesting more in the sense that the Cubs don't seem to have the need to make a move now than anything to do with Weathers. He had virtually no chance of making the team out of spring training and frankly looked like he was pretty low on the depth chart as far as bullpen arms.  He has struggled to command his mid to high 90s fastball and slider his whole career, but especially since having TJ surgery.  The people I've talked to considered him just a throw-in to balance out the trade roster-wise more than acquiring a guy who's going to help their bullpen in the near future.  It turns out the Cubs need that roster spot back.

The question now is...for whom?

Joe Mather and Blake DeWitt are two non-roster players who are making a serious run at a job this spring.  Mather continues to display a nice blend of power and speed -- and perhaps most importantly -- versatility.  After playing CF yesterday, Mather is starting at 3B today.  It's becoming clear to me that the Cubs are trying to see if he can be a good fit on the 40 man roster.

DeWitt was bumped off the roster this offseason but I think his situation is less complicated.  If you decide you want to keep DeWitt, you simply swap roster spots with Adrian Cardenas, who hasn't done much this spring so far and is starting to lose some playing time.  Cardenas could still clear waivers, but even if he doesn't, there wouldn't seem to be much use for him if DeWitt makes the team, which seems very likely right now.

Reader North Side Irish reminds me that Trever Miller has pitched really well as a non-roster invite.  With the Cubs trading Sean Marshall and the Cubs young lefties not distinguishing themselves so far (with the exception of Jeff Beliveau's last outing), Miller has a legit shot as the second lefty out of the bullpen.

I think it also bodes well for Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo.  Up to now, I'd assumed the easiest way to clear a roster spot was to give Castillo back to the Phillies this spring, but he has pitched well and the Cubs may feel good enough about his long term future to add him to their bullpen and keep him on the 25 man roster for the whole year.

And then....if you really want some wild speculation, maybe you think the Cubs are clearing a roster spot for Jorge Soler.  He doesn't warrant an MLB deal as far as his development is concerned (neither did Matt Szczur or Gerardo Concepcion for that matter), but given the market for him, it could give the Cubs an edge when it comes to signing him.  There aren't many teams willing to give a 40 man roster spot to an unproven 20 year old Cuban outfielder, but the Cubs would be one of the few teams to have both the financial means to sign him to a large deal and the flexibility place him on their roster.

Outrighting Weathers may be just a minor move, but it does have some interesting implications...

 

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  • Trever Miller is another option. He's pitched well this spring and would allow them to not rush Beliveau.

    But I like the Soler speculation more...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Good one! I forgot about him. His chances look really good right now. Thanks. Will add him to the mix.

  • DeWitt is playing some good ball, but I think I would rather have Mather on the roster as insurance.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if we took both players north.

  • Do you know if weathers needs to clear waivers, or if we can keep him in the minors without risking losing him? I've never really understood how that works.

    If he does have to clear waivers it seems like a good time to do it since most teams think theyre 40 man rosters are set and adding a small prospect won't do them much. I think both Miller and Beliveau are looking pretty nice in this tiny pool of data, what do you think the chances we take 3 lefties in the bullpen. The lefty bullpen option situation would get even more complicated if Wood doesnt make the starting rotation.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    I believe he's cleared waivers already because he's been outrighted to Iowa and has joined the Cubs minor league complex.

    Would like to see more of Beliveau but if he pitches like he did the other day and Miller continues to impress, I'm all for taking them both.

  • John,
    I find the timing curious. What's the benefit to clearing a spot now for a Mather or DeWitt as opposed to waiting for the end of camp?

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    I think that's what made me curious too. Could be wishful thinking on our parts, but seems like you don't need to make that move now. There could be some reason we're not aware of. Then again, Cubs don't need to make move until they sign Soler either, and he's not even a FA (or even a resident) as far as I know.

  • The timing of this move really fuels the Soler rumor IMO. I mean clearing roster space for a guy in spring training now seems a bit early. Why not wait till closer to the end of S.T. So much could happen betwix now and then.

  • In reply to Bill:

    Agreed. The timing is odd...I'm sure there's a reason and hopefully it's the one we're thinking it is!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Any chance the timing was to make it easier to get Weathers through waivers? Teams are still looking at their own internal options and not ready to add more players. Closer to the end of camp is when teams have a better idea of the roster makeup and would have made it more difficult to sneak him through waivers.

    Or maybe it's just all about Soler.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I thought about that too. It could well be a calculated risk. Unless you're really hurting, now is not the time to add yet another guy to your roster -- especially one with such an uncertain future. At the end of spring is when you look up and say, hmmm...empty roster spot, I can take a flyer on that guy.

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    Couldn't the Cubs just sign Soler when he's available with a full 40 man roster? After signing Soler, wouldn't the Cubs have a couple of days to clear up a spot on the 40 man roster for Soler? Just curious. :)

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    Exactly, right...and that's why it doesn't necessarily mean any impending roster moves. Just having fun speculating.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Ahh OK, well, all sources point to the Cubs getting Soler!!!

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    That seems to be the word out there. I'm trying as best I can to temper my excitement. But no matter how I try to keep expectations at a minimum, it's going to be extremely disappointing to me if they don't get him.

  • Aha - the first move of what will be at least 3 or 4 changes to the 40 man. I'd say you're spot on that this is for Mather. Dewitt will be swapped for Cardenas. Unlikely to be for Soler, he hasn't even gained residency yet. If Miller makes the team, you'd have to assume another bullpen arm can clear waivers. Timing...? I agree with North Side's idea. Cubs better be careful in signing youngsters to major league contracts, they are starting to stuff the 40 man and will make things difficult down the road.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Agreed. You really hope the Cubs can avoid signing Soler to an MLB deal. That would really hamper them as far as roster flexibility.

  • Bryan LaHair is so mighty that the Cubs plan to give him two roster spots.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    Ha :) One is enough for Mr. LaHair. Given his long minor league career, he'll take that in a heartbeat.

  • Back from vaction!! One thing I know from Theo's history . He doesnt waste motion. He isnt going to open a spot on the 40 man for nothing. I smell aqistion or a 2 for 1 trade coming.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    They'll definitely use that spot...trade seems like an interesting possibility.

  • Hey John, you should do an article on managing the roster sometime. Be curious to know the fine points and why it isn't just a matter of moving someone down to bring someone up.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Not a bad idea. i could use this year's roster as an example.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I almost used the Wayne's World SCHWING! in response to this, but luckily I caught myself in time and called my sponsor.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    LOL!

  • They could be clearing space to sign Prince Fielder. Don't rule it out.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Those Prince Fielder rumors will never die.

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