With only one week left until Opening Day, the race is on to secure the final bench spot on the Chicago Cubs’ roster. The question is, who will get it: Steve Clevenger or Alberto Gonzalez?
Although both young men are decent ballplayers, Clevenger is the better choice to fill the spot.
The left-handed hitter made the Cubs roster last season as a backup catcher and has proved his versatility, making him a great asset to this team. Clevenger is not only a catcher, but he can play first and third as well, which is critical since the Cubs have lost third baseman Ian Stewart to an injury this spring.
Clevenger helped his case to make the team this past Friday when he had a pinch-hit single against the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Dale Sveum appeared to appreciate Clevenger’s work, telling Cubs.com, “That’s the kind of thing Clevenger can bring to the table.” He added, “That’s what you’re looking for in the long run is the pinch-hit and double-switch at-bats that can keep the line moving.”
Sounds like Sveum might be leaning towards adding Clevenger to his final roster, does it not?
But what about Gonzalez?
Although he is a fine player, Gonzalez’s chances of making the 25-man roster aren’t looking too good when you compare him to Clevenger. He doesn’t have the versatility to play different positions and hasn’t made a name for himself as a pinch-hitter. He’s a decent player, but when it comes down to the wire, Clevenger is the better guy.
Given the problems the Cubs have had this spring, it should be a no-brainer to Sveum and the rest of the Chicago Cubs: Steven Clevenger is the best man for the final bench spot in 2013.