Cubs First Half Recap: Roster Changes

1

July 15, 2013 by Ryan S

Well, with their 10-6 loss tonight to the Cardinals, the Cubs finished the first half of the season at 42-51 and fourth place in the NL Central.  Let’s break it down.

Cubs record by month

  • April: 10-16, -19 run differential
  • May: 13-14, +30 run differential
  • June: 12-15, -21 run differential
  • July: 7-6, 0 run differential

On the plus side, the Cubs are 11-6 since falling a season-high 13 games under .500 on June 25.  It’s been a fun stretch of baseball to watch, even though it means nothing.  The Cubs will make some trades and this will be a totally different team come Aug. 1.

With that in mind, let’s check out how this Cubs roster has already changed from the beginning of the season until now.

Opening Day 25-man Roster

Starting Pitchers

  1. Jeff Samardzija
  2. Edwin Jackson
  3. Scott Feldman
  4. Travis Wood
  5. Carlos Villanueva

Relief Pitchers

  • Michael Bowden
  • James Russell
  • Kyuji Fujikawa
  • Shawn Camp
  • Hisanori Takahashi
  • Hector Rondon
  • Carlos Marmol (closer)

Catchers

  • Welington Castillo
  • Steve Clevenger
  • Dioner Navarro

Infielders

  • Anthony Rizzo
  • Brent Lillibridge
  • Alberto Gonzalez
  • Starlin Castro
  • Luis Valbuena

Outfielders

  • David DeJesus
  • Dave Sappelt
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Nate Schierholtz
  • Scott Hairston

So how many of those guys are still on the Cubs roster?  Let’s take a closer look.

Starting Pitchers

  1. Jeff Samardzija
  2. Edwin Jackson
  3. Scott Feldman
  4. Travis Wood
  5. Carlos Villanueva

As for the starting pitchers, only Feldman is gone.  He was traded to the Orioles with catcher Steve Clevenger in a deal for pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop.

Villanueva was moved to the bullpen when Matt Garza returned from the disabled list, but has since made his return to the rotation in response to the Feldman trade.

Garza is 6-1 since his return, and Travis Wood is 6-6 with a 2.79 ERA and an all-star bid.

Relief Pitchers

  • Michael Bowden
  • James Russell
  • Kyuji Fujikawa
  • Shawn Camp
  • Hisanori Takahashi
  • Hector Rondon
  • Carlos Marmol (closer)

The bullpen.  What a mess.

Bowden was designated for assignment May 21 to make room for Garza, but was subsequently brought back in the middle of July.

Fujikawa, while still a Cub, has been on the disabled list since May, and will likely not see the ivy at Wrigley field until May or Jun., 2014.

Camp and Takahashi were both designated for assignment, as was Marmol, who was traded to the Dodgers. Camp is a free agent, and Takahashi is in the Rockies organization.

So who is on the roster?  Currently, Strop, Matt Guerrier, Bowden, Russell, Rondon, Blake Parker and Kevin Gregg (closer).

Guerrier was acquired in a trade for Marmol, Parker was recalled from Triple-A Iowa, and Gregg was signed as a free agent and has a 2.20 ERA and 17 saves for the Cubs this season.

Catchers

  • Welington Castillo
  • Steve Clevenger
  • Dioner Navarro

Castillo is hitting .266 with two homers and has matched the league average 29 percent caught stealing rate from behind the plate.

The big surprise has been Dioner Navarro.  Entering Sunday, Navarro was batting .287 and had become Garza’s personal catcher.  It remains a possibility that Navarro is dealt with Garza in a package that ensures that Navarro can continue to catch for the pitcher.

Infielders

  • Anthony Rizzo
  • Brent Lillibridge
  • Alberto Gonzalez
  • Starlin Castro
  • Luis Valbuena

Where to start here?  Lillibridge was designated for assignment after a 1-for-24 start and is now in the Yankees organization.  Gonzalez was designated and is now in the Indians organization.

Rizzo and Castro are both having down seasons, as both are hitting in the .240s at the break.  Fortunately, Castro has begun to turn it around in his past 18 games, hitting over .300 and raising his average from .228.

Who’s joined the squad? Cody Ransom and 2B Darwin Barney.  Barney was on the disabled list to start the season, and has hit rather poorly to start (he’s hitting .222) but has once again brought stellar defense to the infield.

Ransom, 37, has provided a good bat against left-handed pitching off the bench.  He’s hitting .250 with nine homers and 13 walks in 39 games.  He has a .905 OPS this season.

Outfielders

  • David DeJesus
  • Dave Sappelt
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Nate Schierholtz
  • Scott Hairston

Hairston was traded to the Nationals for 21-year old pitcher Ivan Pineyro, who is currently in Daytona with the High-A Cubs.  In one start, he’s gone five innings and allowed no earned runs.

Sappelt was optioned to Triple-A Iowa at the beginning of May and Ryan Sweeney was recalled.  Sweeney was killing it, hitting .295 with an .868 OPS in 112 at-bats when he landed himself on the 60-day DL.  DeJesus had been placed on the 15-day DL just days before.

And shortly after that, Brian Bogusevic hurt himself.  Center field is cursed in Chicago, it must be.  Regardless, following all the injuries, Sappelt found his way back to the bigs.

Soriano has been on a tear lately, swatting nine homers in his past 16 games.  He’s been on one of those Alfonso Soriano patented hot streaks.

As for Schierholtz, he started off the season as the Cubs’ MVP, but has faded lately, batting under .150 in July.  Sveum elected to sit him in the past couple games citing injuries to lots of parts of his body.

So who else has joined? Julio Borbon, Cole Gillespie, and Bogusevic.  Borbon has been atrocious, batting .196 with 20 strikeouts in 92 at-bats.  He also has a low .949 fielding percentage.  On the plus side, he has seven steals.

Gillespie just joined Sun. Jul. 14, and got a base hit in his first Cubs at-bat.  He was claimed from the Giants this weekend.  Reliever Henry Rodriguez was DFA’d for his addition.

As previously mentioned, Bogusevic, who was a non-roster invitee to spring training this season, has joined the Cubs and been pretty good.  After hitting .319 at Iowa, he’s batting .261 with the Cubs and has been a pretty good stopgap in the absence of DeJesus and Sweeney.

What to expect in the second half?  A lot more changes.  That’s it for now, and go Cubs!

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One thought on “Cubs First Half Recap: Roster Changes

  1. […] Cubs First Half Recap: Roster Changes (the-billy-goat.mlblogs.com) […]

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