Today Dale Sveum announced several spots that were available entering Spring Training. Although the roster is not yet finalized, many of his decisions were made clear today.
The 2012 Cubs starting rotation has been announced. Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad have won the final two spots, joining Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm in the starting five.
The Cubs also announced today that Steve Clevenger has made the team as the backup catcher. Sveum said that sending Welington Castillo to Iowa was the toughest decision he had to make, but he envisions Castillo as a starter at the big league level some day. Sveum feels that Castillo will benefit from more time at the minor league level.
Although the bullpen is not yet settled, we do not that Randy Wells will not be a part of it. The Cubs optioned Wells to Triple-A Iowa today. The Cubs feel that it will benefit the team to have a "sixth starter" stretched out so that when someone in the starting five struggles or goes down with an injury, Wells is ready to step in.
As expected, Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather have made the 25 man Opening Day roster. DeWitt will be used as a utility infielder, while Mather claimed the fifth outfield spot. Travis Wood, Dave Seppelt and Scott Maine were all optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Matt Tolbert, Blake Parker, Blake Lalli and Edgar Gonzalez were reassigned to minor league camp.
Casey Coleman was not officially sent back to minor league camp, but according to multiple reports he has been told that he will not make the team. Wood and Coleman will join Wells in the Iowa starting rotation.
With Wells and Coleman out of the mix, it looks as if Rodrigo Lopez may have a spot in the bullpen. Lopez is competing for the final three bullpen spots with Lendy Castillo, Shawn Camp, and Frankie De La Cruz and Manny Corpas. Three of those five will likely make the club along with young right hander Rafael Dolis, who has not officially made the team but is expected to snag the fourth bullpen spot behind Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and James Russell.
The compensation for Theo Epstein was completed as the Cubs received Jair Bogaerts, a 19 year old first base prospect, as a Player to be Named Later.
That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!