The excitement of a new baseball season is upon us, with pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training yesterday. But before we lookat the promise of a new season, we must discuss two corresponding roster moves made by the Cubs. Scott Hairston’s contract was finally announced, and that meant that one person had to be booted from the 40-man roster. While most people around Chicago assumed that Tony Campana would be getting the boot, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth when everyone’s favorite spunky little outfielder was designated for assignment.
“It was a difficult call,” team president Theo Epstein said. “We hope we can still keep him in the organization. That would be the best outcome, if there was some way for that to happen. Obviously, he’s one of the best baserunners in the league and could be a weapon for a contending team in a certain role.”
As Doc pointed out in the comments of yesterday’s thread, most teams right now probably have a full 40-man roster. This means most teams would have to DFA someone else to claim Campana, so odds are that he’ll end up at Iowa. So if you enjoy a guy that is super fun to watch the 30 percent of the time he gets on base, you may be able to see him in Des Moines this summer.
One player in the organization who has Cubs fans giddy is Javier Baez. And when he was given an invitation to major league camp this spring, irrational hope arose that he might be closer to the big show than we previously thought. Theo wants us to know that he isn’t closer than we thought.
“When a young guy’s name pops up as being invited to big league camp, often times people think it means he’s close to the big leagues,” Theo Epstein said Sunday. “In this case, Javy’s not. He’s got significant development still ahead of him. We’re really impressed by everything he’s done but he has a lot of work to do, he knows that. … He finished the year in high-A ball and that’s about where he’s going to start.”
Will he be getting time at positions other than shortstop?
“He’s a shortstop and he’s going to play shortstop,” Dale Sveum said. “If he happens to get in a game at third or second base, it’ll be because of flat numbers. It’s not that we need to take a look at him anywhere else — that’ll be a development question down the road.”
Watch out, Darwin Barney!
But even with the likes of Baez starting at Daytona this year, maybe he and someone like Jorge Soler will quickly rise through the ranks, and we’ll see them in 2014?
“We don’t have any young guys that we look at that have a really good shot to bust through and make the team,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll see them during the year.”
At one point in their news conference Sunday, Epstein added more to the prospect notion, unprompted by any question.
“We prefer guys to spend about a full year at the Triple-A level before they come up here,” he said.
I think that means 2015. Of course, prospects are prospects, and we may never see any of them. Have a great Monday!