We were having such great discussion yesterday with regard to potential breakout prospects that we let this news slide a little. In all honesty, it was a bit anticlimactic. Lendy Castillo was DFA'd back on January 26th and waived several days after that. It was a matter of waiting it out.
With less than a week to go before pitchers and catchers report, the timing was about right. Roster spots are scarce and it's really tough to justify taking a chance on someone like Castillo at this point in the game. Castillo posted a 7.88 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 6.8 BB/9 last season with the Cubs and doesn't look like a guy who is going to help much early in 2013 -- if at all next season. A team would have to be sold on Castillo's long term potential, but as the days went by, it seemed that no team seemed sold enough to be willing to sacrifice a 40 man roster spot.
That is good news for the Cubs. They need all the good arms they can get in their system.
Castillo is most certainly a live armed pitcher, able to hit 97 mph at times but command was a big issue last season. Not only did he walk too many hitters, but he also often caught too much of the plate with his slider.
Removing Castillo from the 40 man roster takes the pressure off having him one step away from the big leagues. He will very likely spend the entire year in the minors working to refine his breaking pitch, change speeds better, and work on his location.
The biggest questions are where and in what role? The fact that Castillo was assigned to the AAA roster doesn't necessarily mean he'll pitch there. If he does, it likely means that the Cubs will pitch him in relief. If they believe he can be a starter, then he'll start a level or two lower as he will need to work more on his secondaries against less advanced hitters.
The guess here is that his ultimate role is in the bullpen because he throws everything hard and he has the kind of mentality that seems best suited for the bullpen. The Cubs liked the way he didn't get easily rattled and kept his poise despite facing hitters that were much more experienced.
The Cubs roster still stands at 41 and the Cubs have yet to officially announce the signing of OF Scott Hairston. With pitchers and catchers reporting in just a few days, a decision is expected soon.
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