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Chicago Cubs Re-sign Rodrigo Lopez, but Will He Make the MLB Roster? Fan’s Take
The Chicago Cubs are putting the finishing touches on a starting rotation that should have plenty of competition during spring training. The Cubs re-signed pitcher Rodrigo Lopez to a one-year minor-league contract. Lopez will be invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Remember Lopez? He was the pitcher who surrendered the second of the back-to-back home runs to Albert Pujols last June. It's amazing how those home runs were the difference between the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series and not even qualifying for the postseason.
The Cubs had traded for Lopez in 2011 shortly after injuries took their toll on the starting rotation. James Russell and Casey Coleman were completely ineffective as spot starters. They also didn't have any emergency options in the minor leagues. Lopez was a serviceable pitcher as he went 6-6 with a 4.42 ERA in 26 games (16 starts) last season. Lopez was relied on for spot starting and long-relief appearances because the Cubs' pitchers often failed to make it out of the fifth inning.
The Cubs are now destined to enter spring training with a slew of potential starting pitchers that include Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Travis Wood, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad, Randy Wells, Jeff Samardzija, Rodrigo Lopez and Casey Coleman.
I'd have to say that the Garza, Dempster, Wood and Maholm should be locks to make the opening-day rotation unless they have hideous spring trainings. Volstad and Samardzija should have the advantage over Wells and Lopez because they have more upside. With that said, I'd rather see Samardzija remain in the bullpen. I think he's at his best when he isn't being flip-flopped as a starter and reliever.
Lopez probably won't make the opening-day roster. However, he was valuable enough to keep as an emergency option in the farm system. I also wouldn't be upset if Lopez remained on the 25-man roster as the long-relief pitcher over Randy Wells. That's probably Lopez's only real chance of making the MLB roster unless injuries occur.
The Cubs have also signed catcher Jason Jaramillo to a similar deal. The 29-year-old Jaramillo hit .235 in 366 plate appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the past three seasons. Jaramillo figures to compete with Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger for the backup catcher position.
I'd be surprised if Jaramillo were starting any higher than Triple-A. The only scenarios where I could see him making the 25-man roster are if Soto or Castillo gets injured or if Soto gets traded. Jaramillo wouldn't be much more than an upgrade over Koyie Hill.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.
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