Currently, with David DeJesus out of action for around a month, your Chicago Cubs have four men on the bench. Backup catcher Dioner Navarro, Cody Ransom, Julio Borbon and Scott Hairston. They also have eight pitchers in the bullpen. The Cubs, however, have announced that come Friday afternoon, by the time the Cubs series with the Houston Astros begins, that the team will once again have a five man bench.
The list of candidates to be called up seems to be down to a coin flip. Either the Cubs re-call Dave Sappelt and once again have five outfielders, or they will decide to activate Steve Clevenger off of the 60 day disabled list. Having to chose between those two, I would go with Clevenger because the Cubs desperately need another backup infielder. With him being able to backup first base and third base, as well as catcher, he would allow Manager Dale Sveum a lot more flexibility.
In order to make this roster change and add an extra bat to the bench, which means they are going to have to designate a pitcher for assignment before Friday. Now, I am sure I know exactly who the Cub fans would be more than willing to offer up as a sacrifice to the baseball Gods to make room for him, but he may not be the one who is cast into oblivion to make room for the extra bench bat.
First, let us throw out the possibility that James Russell, Carlos Villanueva or Kevin Gregg will be the ones catapulted off of the roster. There is no chance at all the Cubs will decide to eliminate either of these three men, as they have been the best of the bunch, even though with the way this bullpen has performed this year, that really is not saying much. So, with that out of the way, forward we go.
Since he is likely the number one choice for Cub fans, I will start with Carlos Marmol. After his latest blowup against the New York Mets, the little support he still with the already angered fan base went ot the window. In fact, he has even lost the support of Sveum, who said that not only would Marmol never pitch in the ninth inning again, but that getting him back into a game is not a priority. That sounds like Sveum is washing his hands of him, and could be a sign that the Cubs are going to bite the bullet and designate him for assignment. If this does happen, expect a party to be thrown in Wrigleyville that lasts the rest of the season. Even if the Cubs continue to tank, the Cub fans will celebrate because he is gone.
If Marmol is not the choice, the next guy on the fan’s hit list would have to be Shawn Camp. Last year, he was the best pitcher in the bullpen, and even garnered praise from Sveum who called him the team’s MVP. However, that was last year. Age and overuse the previous year seems to have turned Camp into the one pitcher who Cub fans might hate seeing called into a game more than Marmol. I doubt any fan would be terribly upset if Camp was wished the best in all his future endeavors instead of Marmol. A party might still be held with this release.
Because both make a decent amount of money, I tend to think the Cubs would look at the other three.
Hector Rondon cannot be taken off the roster yet. After tonight, he is still nine days short of qualifying for all the Rule 5 draft pick rules. He must be on the Major League roster for 90 days, he currently sits at 81. While he has shown glimpses of brilliance, he has also shown the capability of blowing up and having a massive meltdown in an inning. If he had already reached his 90 day limit, he might be the obvious choice, though designating a guy with his talent is likely to lead to losing him on the open market. I would hate to see him lost to make room for either Clevenger or Sappelt.
Another pitcher who could be on the chopping block is newly acquired Henry Rodriguez. So far, he has only pitched one game for the Cubs, and he has allowed one unearned run. While I cannot see the Cubs designating a player they just traded for, I cannot say that this move would not surprise me. What also would not surprise me, is if he is designated, a team claims him. When you have a pitcher who can throw 100 MPH on the waiver wire, and you can have them free of charge, you grab him. A flame thrower is one thing every team desires in their bullpen. Personally, I would not send him out; but then again, I am not Epstein or Jed Hoyer.
Then we have Blake Parker who might get looked at. He has looked very good in his limited time in the majors, and I believe the Cubs would like nothing more than to keep him on the major league roster. He is young and talented, and if he is designated, there is a very good chance that he gets plucked off the waiver wire, thus being lost to another team. I sincerely hope he is not the odd man out, but sadly, my money is on him being sent packing.
If the Cubs are going to add a bat to the bench, these are your options. The fans choice, without a doubt, would be Marmol, and quite frankly, I would not be surprised one bit if the Cubs have seen the last of him on this team.