Apparently the Cubs aren't sweating out the available space nearly as much as I am. Despite having just one available spot, a plethora of middle infielders, and rosters needing to be finalized today, the Cubs claimed infielder Luis Valbuena off of waivers from Toronto. He's out of options so the Cubs will have to keep him on the 25 man roster. The Cubs are keeping an extra position player and going with a six man bullpen.
Valbuena is a left-handed hitting 2B who stands at 5'10", 195 lbs. He's somewhat stocky in build. Think Ronnie Belliard.
Valbuena's best year was in 2009 when he put up a line of .250/.298/.416. He showed some pretty good pop with 10 HRs in just over 300 PAs. Last year he played AAA ball for the Cleveland Indians, where he hit .302/.372/.476 with 17 HRs. This spring for Toronto, he was hitting .163 with 2 HRs.
He has shown strike zone discipline in the minors and some pop in his stints in the majors. Defensively he lacks range and while he's played SS, he's ill-suited to play there for any length of time.
The 6 man bullpen will include Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo. I'm assuming that is in addition to locks Marmol, Wood, Russell, and Dolis.
Barring trades current roster will look like this:
C: Geovany Soto, Steve Clevenger
1B: Bryan LaHair
2B: Darwin Barney, Blake DeWitt, Luis Valbuena
SS: Starlin Castro
3B: Ian Stewart, Jeff Baker
OF: David DeJesus, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Joe Mather, Reed Johnson
Rotation: Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, Paul Maholm
Bullpen: Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo
Meanwhile, Rodrigo Lopez has been told to expect a quick call-up and Tony Campana is in limbo. Nobody has asked him to leave yet
It remains a possibility that Bryan LaHair could end up on the DL. If so, Campana will make the Opening Day Roster.
The Cubs officially optioned Frankie De La Cruz, so the roster still stands at 39 even with the signing of Valbuena. The Cubs will still have to make two moves of some sort to create roster space, so expect a minor deal or two before the day is over.
More to follow as it becomes known...