5 Players Who Won’t Make Chicago Cubs’ 2014 Opening Day Roster
5 Players Who Won't Make the Chicago Cubs' Opening Day Roster
The Chicago Cubs had a relatively quiet offseason, but they did manage to bring in a lot of potential depth this spring. They did this by signing castoffs from other teams such as Wesley Wright, who was non-tendered by the Tampa Bay Rays and Emilio Bonifacio, who was released by the Kansas City Royals.
One team's trash is another team's treasure, and signing players to minor league contracts and adding castoffs from other organizations has become the standard operating procedure for the Cubs. With the exception of Junior Lake, the Cubs' three main outfielders have all been acquired in this type of fashion. Center fielder Ryan Sweeney was quickly signed by the Cubs after the Boston Red Sox released him during Spring Training last year. Likewise, after Nate Schierholtz was non-tendered by the Philadelphia Phillies in the winter of 2012, the Cubs scooped him up with a $2.25 million deal. Justin Ruggiano will platoon in right field with Schierholtz this year, and he was acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins, sending the fish Brian Bogusevic, who was signed to a minor league deal last winter.
This year, the Cubs have signed a motley crew of potential fifth outfielders to minor league deals including Chris Coghlan, Aaron Cunningham, Mitch Maier, Ryan Kalish, Casper Wells and Ryan Roberts. Among this group, Ryan Roberts likely has the best chance to make the team due to his ability to play third base and left field.
Despite being a team that isn't expected to contend, the Cubs will have heated competitions all across the diamond during Spring Training. The storylines this spring will be interesting to watch and some intriguing players may emerge. The following five players, however, will not survive spring cuts.
5. Jonathan Sanchez
Jonathan Sanchez is another player the Cubs signed to a minor league deal, and he would appear to be a good option to come out of the bullpen against lefties. However, there simply isn't any room for him. While Sanchez has a no-hitter on his resume, the only real chance he has of making the 25-man roster is if the Cubs trade Carlos Villanueva to a team in need of a starting pitcher.
4. Brett Jackson
Former first-round pick Brett Jackson tried to remake his swing last year in an effort to cut down on his strikeouts, but the new swing backfired as Jackson was never comfortable at the plate and his numbers plummeted. This year, Jackson will be going back to his old swing, hopefully along with some key adjustments. However, no matter what swing Jackson is trotting out this spring, his ticket has already been punched for triple-A Iowa.
3. Logan Watkins
Logan Watkins deserves a chance at the MLB level, but his hopes of making the team were dashed when the Cubs signed second baseman and super-utility man Emilio Bonifacio. Watkins' future role in the big leagues will likely be as a utility player whose main position is second base, and there’s simply no room for him on the Cubs with Bonifacio already filling that role.
2. Ryan Roberts
Journeyman Ryan Roberts will also be in direct competition with Emilio Bonifacio to win a job this spring. The problem with Roberts is that his main position is third base and the Cubs already have a lot of bodies at that position with Donnie Murphy, Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt. Roberts is also not as effective in the outfield and simply doesn't provide quite the same versatility as Bonifacio.
1. Josh Vitters
Former third overall pick Josh Vitters has a real chance of making the Cubs this spring, but he will more than likely head back to triple-A and bide his time. Drafted as a third baseman, Vitters is now a left fielder and the Cubs outfield is set to consist of Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney, Justin Ruggiano and Nate Schierholtz. Vitters has a MLB-ready bat, but he has not spent much time in the outfield and he can take advantage of his time at triple-A by honing his defensive skills.