One of the reasons that I enjoy baseball so much is that it is a yearlong spectator sport. When the regular season ends the hot stove season begins and that can be almost as fun to watch as the games.
When watching the moves the Cubs make over the offseason, its interesting to look at them and think of the hidden meanings and implications some of the moves have (or could have) in the future.
A few such moves occurred over the last few weeks and if you were not paying attention, you may have missed them. Here they are, in no particular order:
Angel Guzman released and then resigned to a minor league deal
I originally expected the Cubs to just non-tender Guzman and part ways with him, however this is a good, low risk move for the Cubs that could pay dividends next season. Guzman is coming off of major (possibly career threatening) shoulder surgery last spring and is hoping to be ready for the start of the 2011 season. He was the Cubs tops setup man in 2009 and hopes to reclaim that role in 2011.
If the Cubs can get any production out of him, it would be a plus and could even help to shore up an otherwise shaky bullpen. However, even if it doesn't work out, its still good to see them giving Guzman a chance, no matter how long the odds are.
Brad Snyder outrighted to Iowa, declares for free agency instead
This is a move that could come back to bite the Cubs in the butt. Snyder, a former 1st round pick of the Indians, had a strong season at AAA Iowa in 2010, hitting .308/.381/.568. At 28, Snyder is a little old to still be considered a prospect, however there are always instances of late-bloomers, such as former Cub Casey McGehee.
With the emergence of Tyler Colvin, the Cubs must have felt that Snyder was expendable, I just hope they don't regret it later.
Robinson Chirinos added to the 40-man roster
This is probably my favorite move so far. Chirinos has shown drastic improvement with the bat over the last couple years, hitting .294/.396/.519 in 2009 and following that up with a .326/.416/.583 line this year. As such, the Cubs couldn't keep him off the roster any longer.
Being added to the roster means that we are likely to see Chirinos in a Cubs uniform at some point in 2011, as the Cubs are more likely to call up someone on the roster than someone not on the roster. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what Chirinos can do at the big league level.
Jeff Gray, Blake Parker and James Adduci outrighted to Iowa
The result of these moves is that these players are no longer on the 40-man roster. This is significant in that, combined with the moves above, the Cubs now have 36 players on the 40-man roster. That leaves 4 spots open for free agents and/or trade acquisitions (such as Adrian Gonzalez).
One other thing to note here is that Jeff Gray, one of the players acquired in the Jake Fox trade last offseason, is now officially a bust. He could still salvage his value in 2011, but it is obvious that the Cubs lost patience with him. Gray elected to become a free agent and will likely get a minor league deal with another team.
Going forward, I will continue to watch the wire to see what other moves the Cubs make, that may be lost in the shuffle, and give my take on what the impact will be.