MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs must be stacked with pitching if they can afford to cut two pitchers who produced 0.00 ERAs in spring games.
Casey Coleman and Blake Parker must be wondering what they have to do to make the team. But of course it's more complicated than that. Both of them can move up and down from the minors without clearing waivers while Michael Bowden, for example, can't. Bowden is in, as is Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon. Because of those draft rules Rondon can't simply be sent down as well. Neither threw poorly this spring but they had a head start on the competition.
Coleman and Parker were sent down as part of a wave of cuts on Friday. Let's analyze a couple more of them:
Brian Bogusevic: Bowden turns out to be the local kid (Aurora) who makes the team but Bogusevic (Palos Heights) wasn't as lucky. The numbers were stacked against him as a left-handed hitter but is that fair? Maybe it's a sign the Cubs are a little deeper considering he played in 146 games last year for Houston and now he starts in the minors. But he did bat just .203 with 96 strikeouts last season. He was impressive this spring, batting .410 with seven extra base-hits, and he's still finding his way as a position player after converting over from pitcher a few years ago. If he tears it up at Triple-A Iowa he'll get a phone call to return, especially if the Cubs start selling parts at the trade deadline. He'll be a perfect fit for the second half if Nate Schierholtz and/or David DeJesus are moved.
Darnell McDonald: At 33, McDonald really needed things to break his way to make the team. He's a career .274 hitter against left-handed pitching with a respectable .342 on-base percentage and that's probably one reason Theo Epstein & Co. like him. But it's still not comparable to Dave Sappelt's .345/.410 in limited at-bats. Sappelt came on late in spring training, confirming what manager Dale Sveum already knew: He can rake against the lefties. Sappelt also is younger (26), can run a little and can play center field. All those factors contributed to him over McDonald.
Waiver wire: With a week to go the roster still isn't set. There's still a bullpen spot open as well as a middle infield position. Sveum reiterated the notion the Cubs will look to the waiver wire if they believe newcomer Alberto Gonzalez isn't the utility player they want in the big leagues. Scouts in Florida and Arizona are trying to find that infielder.
Chone Figgins and former Cub Ronny Cedeno were released recently, from Florida and St. Louis, respectively. Figgins has played 613 career games at third base -- or 505 more than Brent Lillibridge and Luis Valbuena combined. In limited at-bats the last two seasons, though, he failed to hit .200 for the Seattle Mariners. He was 8 for 26 this spring with a .367 on-base percentage before being let go.
As of Friday, major league sources claim the Cubs haven't called for Figgins -- and they may not. But if they want a natural third baseman while Ian Stewart continues to recover from a quad injury he's about the only option out there.