Cubs to meet, decide on players Tuesday

Darwin Barney is a lock to make the Cubs, even if it's just as Starlin Castro's backup at shortstop. Kyle Terada/US Presswire

It won't exactly be like the meeting of the five families in "The Godfather," but Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade does expect some spirited disagreements Tuesday when he and his staff sit down with general manager Jim Hendry and his staff to decide the fate of numerous players.

"Look, I've had plenty of disagreements, particularly with Jim and [assistant GM Randy Bush]," Quade said. "It's healthy. It's ok, and I expect us to come up with good decisions."

Although Quade has a strong idea when it comes to players he wants to take to Chicago, he knows the front office has information that sometimes he doesn't possess.

"I expect another discussion with spirited folk," Quade said. "I want that.

"I was with Philadelphia, and you heard the great stories about [the front office]. Stories of Dallas [Green] and [GM Paul Owens], brawls, brutal stuff. Then they throw their arms around each other and go to dinner. I'm not interested in that [dinner] part of it, but that's the way committed people operate."

The Cubs' main decisions will center around the fourth and fifth starter positions, two bullpen spots, second base and the fifth outfielder.

Here's what we know so far:

  • Randy Wells will be the fourth starter. He's passed every test on and off the field.

  • Five bullpen spots are secured by Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, John Grabow and Jeff Samardzija. If the team decides to take a third left-hander, it will be either James Russell or Scott Maine.

  • The fifth outfielder job basically has been won by Reed Johnson. Speedy Fernando Perez has not gotten on track with either the bat or glove this spring.

    There's a gaping hole at second base, due to the fact Blake DeWitt has had a bad spring. Darwin Barney and Jeff Baker have impressed Quade, but the Cubs manager said DeWitt still is vying for the position.

    "We're going to continue to give [DeWitt] the opportunity to improve," Quade said. "Everyone who has seen him thinks he'll hit, but right now we want to forget about what he's hitting. His at-bats just haven't been as good as we've seen in the past. Deep down I think he'll work that out.

    "Right now, he does [have a spot on the roster], but there are some guys pushing him. And we haven't left yet, so we will see."

    Meanwhile, Quade said Barney and Baker have played well, but he refuses to commit to one. He admits DeWitt making the team isn't a slam dunk.

    "We're looking at three guys right now, and we'll see where it goes," Quade said.

    If DeWitt doesn't make the team, it opens the door for either Scott Moore or Bobby Scales. With Augie Ojeda out with a bad back, either one of the minor league veterans could get a shot.

    "You kind of like to look at a left-handed bat in the mix," Quade said.

    Barney has been a great surprise to Quade and his staff, and he's a lock to make the team as Castro's backup at shortstop, at the very least. That would change if Hendry can pick up a veteran infielder off waivers. But Barney also is going to get strong consideration at second.