Playing Stupid: The Year in Cubs Quotes


Playing Stupid: The Year in Cubs Quotes

The Cubs notched 97 wins, beat the Pirates in an unforgettable wild-card game and went through almost 500 bottles of champagne after eliminating the hated Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs might have produced the National League’s Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and Cy Young Award winner. Not bad for a team that projected to win around 85 games, according to the front office’s preseason simulations, after five straight fifth-place finishes.

The Cubs turned the home clubhouse into a nightclub with a smoke machine and DJ lighting, plowed ahead with the modernization of their iconic stadium and became a go-to team for national television again.

The Cubs are already being anointed as World Series favorites for next year.

What just happened? The 2015 Cubs in their own words:

“We’re going to win the NL Central. Quote me on that.” – first baseman Anthony Rizzo, appearing at a West Side elementary school before Cubs Convention, Jan. 15.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

“The Cubs will win as a team in 2015.” – Hall of Famer Billy Williams, remembering how Ernie Banks would frame a season with a rhyme, delivering a eulogy at Mr. Cub’s funeral, Jan. 31.

“It’s always sunny in Chicago, right? I’m very optimistic about it. I’m not here to make any bold predictions, except that every spring I go to camp, I expect to go to the playoffs. I do not like playoff baseball beginning and I’m in the backyard cooking steaks. I hate that. I want everybody else cooking steaks while we’re playing baseball in October.” – manager Joe Maddon, Feb. 19. 

“We’re all watching the same movie. The trades at the middle of last summer were really kind of the end of the beginning for us. We’re looking forward (to) winning now. … We feel like this is the year where we’re going to start to show our results.” – chairman Tom Ricketts, Feb. 25.

“I’ve been impressed with our coaches and our players and everything on a daily basis to a point where – I mean this in the most complimentary way – it’s like running a collegiate baseball program. It’s like running almost an amateur group that’s trying to become professionals. And because of that, it made me think the other day it’s almost like ‘Cub University.’ Or ‘The Cub University.’ … We really promote liberal arts. We’re a liberal arts education in baseball. … Nobody’s on scholarship. It’s a non-scholarship university. There’s no entitlement program here whatsoever. It’s all earned. E-A-R-N-E-D.” – Maddon – forget it, he’s rolling – March 7.

“It’s nice to have a bulldog working for you rather than a poodle.” – third baseman Kris Bryant, defending super-agent Scott Boras, as his service-time issue exploded into a huge national story, March 18.

“I actually put it in Google Maps and typed in ‘Oakland Athletics spring training complex.’ It took me to the old one. I know, it’s crazy, but, yeah, that pretty much sums it up. A crazy, crazy way to start a day.” – Edwin Jackson, making the wrong impression during a 14-2 loss and explaining why he showed up late to Hohokam Stadium, the remodeled facility where the Cubs trained for 17 years, March 24. (The $52 million pitcher would be released in late July.)

“I’m excited, man. It looks like Baghdad, but still you know there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow there.” – pitcher Jason Hammel, looking forward to playing in the Wrigleyville construction zone, April 1.

“Nothing is going to get in the way of us trying to grow the Cubs and put us in a position to be contenders every year and win a world championship. So if you’re just loyal to that notion, then you don’t have room to fall into the trap of backing from things that are unpopular or inconvenient or uncomfortable. If you just do what’s best for the Cubs, always think of the Cubs first, put them in the best position, things will work out.” – president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, April 1.

[MORE: Cubs got their money's worth with Joe Maddon at the mic]

“Basically, my job is fill a wheelbarrow with money, take it to Theo’s office, and dump it.” - president of business operations Crane Kenney, quoted in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story, April 1.

“Opening Day at Wrigley Field has always brought challenges with restroom wait times. Last night was particularly extreme. Two bathrooms in the upper deck went down temporarily, forcing fans downstairs where we already were experiencing issues with long wait times. With 35,000 fans showing up in the ballpark, we were simply not prepared to handle guests during peak periods. We have high standards for service and we missed the mark. We want to apologize to our fans for the huge inconvenience. Moving forward, we plan to supplement the existing restrooms with additional portable units and will continue to monitor wait times to ensure we can service our guests appropriately.” – statement from team spokesman Julian Green, April 6.

“Halftime at a Bears game bad.” – message from Cubs fan, describing the bathroom disaster, April 6.

“Hopefully, our team is what you want to talk about – not bathroom lines or porta-potties.” – general manager Jed Hoyer, April 8.

“I shed a few tears. My heart got heavy. I feel like I’m listening to a Tim McGraw or a Justin Moore country song. When they make you cry, that’s when you know when they got you.” – Mike Bryant, before his son’s big-league debut, April 17.

“I used to play for the Cubs, come on! I’m all for reinvigorating. It would be an international story if the Cubs win. I didn’t say we wouldn’t want to be a part of it. I’d love to go to the World Series and have like seven guys playing on the team.” – Boras, before Addison Russell’s big-league debut, April 21.

“I had enough. I had enough. I had enough. It was the whole game. It was egregiously bad. I mean, you cannot permit that to happen. We’re trying to ascend. And we’re not going to take that from anybody, anywhere, at any time. We play a veteran club with some veteran battery and you got guys that barely have a month in the big leagues. I’m not going to take it. Our guys deserve equal treatment. And I’m not going to take it. … We’re trying to get something done here. And I’m not going to permit our guys to get shortchanged based on the fact that they haven’t been here a long time.” – Maddon, sending a message to his clubhouse and the umpires in St. Louis, May 6.

[ALSO: Cubs take down Wrigley Field marquee for maintenance]

“If we do more ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ I promise you will be on it. You have my word.” - Jeff Garlin, crashing Maddon’s pregame media session in San Diego, May 21.

“When we were younger, we used to call him ‘Silk,’ because he was so smooth with everything he did.” – Bryce Harper, Washington’s potential MVP winner, on growing up with Bryant in Las Vegas, May 25.

“I don’t want us to take the fight there by acting like a punk. I don’t want that at all. I want us to take the fight there by playing the game properly and hard and fundamentally sound. You know that we’re coming after you – that’s what I want. I don’t want us to take a page out of ‘Major League’ and flamboyantly flip a bat after a long home run. I don’t want that at all. That has nothing to do with us ascending.” – Maddon, after Junior Lake almost sparked a bench-clearing brawl in Miami, June 3.

“There’s probably not another city that’s dying for a World Series more than Chicago. I think everybody would probably agree with me on that. That’s special. It’s absolutely special.” – David Price, sounding like the Cy Young Award winner already had a free-agent destination in mind, June 10.

“I am a badass.” – Tsuyoshi Wada, parroting a Maddon line, even though the Japanese lefty didn’t really know what it meant after beating the Indians, June 17.

“Strop is on his way out, pointing toward the heavens. We can only ask – or wonder – that he is asking some departed relative for forgiveness for this atrocious performance.” – MLB Network broadcaster Bob Costas, ripping Pedro Strop’s performance against the Cardinals, June 26.

“We all make mistakes. I’m not going to judge him just because he made a mistake.” – Strop, after Costas staked out the reliever and apologized in the lobby of the team’s St. Louis hotel, June 28.

[MORE: Cubs, Royals and the myth/reality of a World Series blueprint] 

“I try to stay as far away from that (as possible). That stuff makes me nervous. I don’t want him to take my wallet.” – outfielder Matt Szczur, after seeing Simon the Magician’s act inside Citi Field’s visiting clubhouse, June 30.   

“‘Disappointed’ is kind of a loaded word. Would we have liked to have hit a home run of a deal? Yeah, absolutely. But if you’re dead set on making a big deal for the sake of making a big deal, you end up making a bad deal.” – Epstein, after the July 31 trade deadline.

“This is going to sound really bad, but I’ve always been a big believer in playing stupid. Being naïve. I saw it with the Rays in 2008. They were naïve to the situation. They had nothing to lose. We have nothing to lose. We’re not supposed to win. We’re supposedly still in the rebuilding stages. If we make the playoffs, that’s just an added bonus. I like that. I like (how) we’re not really the underdog, but we’re (also) not really expected to do anything.” – pitcher Jon Lester, Aug. 3.

“It’s very easy for people to just think they’re a genie and that they just know the future. That’s natural, because you look at the pieces, you go: ‘Whoa, we’re good this year and look at this – we have control of X-amount of (players) for the next (several) years.’ People don’t understand that there are very few people in the game that put up consistent numbers and continually produce and stay healthy. … There has to be (a sense of urgency): ‘Hey, we’re not guaranteed we’re going to be back here tomorrow.’ Because I don’t know if this guy’s going to stay healthy next year – and I don’t know if he’s going to put up the same year that he put up this year. Everybody just assumes you’re just going to continue to get better and better and better. That’s the hope for everybody. But everybody has a plateau. And nobody knows their plateau.” – outfielder Chris Coghlan, Aug. 15.

“Tall boy. It wasn’t even drank all the way.” – outfielder Kyle Schwarber, after getting a welcome-to-Chicago beer can thrown at him during a win over the White Sox on the South Side, Aug. 15.

“You should’ve shotgunned it. That would have been awesome. You would have got points from me. You should have shotgunned it and then went over there and found him. I tell you what: I’d hate to try to wrap up Kyle Schwarber. I guarantee you that whoever threw that beer doesn’t want (any) part of Kyle Schwarber. I promise you that one.” – catcher David Ross, Aug. 15.

[MORE CUBS: Are North Siders already 2016 World Series favorites?]

“It’s kind of ideal for the free-agent dynamic, because he’s a brilliant talent, and he’s had to utilize fewer innings to find the station of a No. 1 pitcher. And I think we can say that about Jake Arrieta. He’s reached the status of a No. 1 pitcher.” – Boras, talking up yet another Cubs client inside his Dodger Stadium luxury suite, Aug. 28.

“Too much cleavage?” – Arrieta, beginning his press conference by looking down at the open buttons on his gray striped onesie covered in moustaches – after throwing a no-hitter against the Dodgers on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Aug. 30.

“We’re together. We push for everyone. I don’t push for myself only. I don’t push for Latin (players) only. I push for all (my teammates). I push for (the whole team), because we want to win. We come in here, and we’re having fun. We’re jumping around. One goal: It’s play baseball and keep winning. This is an awesome time right now. And I think we got this.” – Starlin Castro, three-time All-Star shortstop, reinventing himself as a second baseman and keeping his head up after Russell took his job, Sept. 12.

“I’m really disappointed in what the Cardinals did right there. Absolutely. We did not hit their guy on purpose at all. It was an absolute mistake. There was no malicious intent on Dan Haren’s part. None. So to become this vigilante group that all of a sudden wants to get their own pound of flesh, that’s absolutely insane, ridiculous and wrong. Furthermore, we don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff. … Furthermore, in the ninth inning, they were playing behind us and we were leading by five runs. The next time they do it, we’re going to run. I want everybody to know that. I never read that particular book that the Cardinals wrote way back in the day. I was a big Branch Rickey fan, but I never read this book the Cardinals have written on how to play baseball. … I don't give a crap about that book. … I have no history with the Cardinals except that I used to love ‘em as a kid growing up. Right now, that really showed me a lot today in a negative way. I don’t know who put out the hit. I don’t know if Tony Soprano was in the dugout. I didn’t see him in there. We’re not gonna put up with that from them or anybody else.” – Maddon, Sept. 18.

“Right now, Starlin is remarkably into the moment, and I love it. That error today was not his fault. That was a bad hop. Since the AC/DC concert, we’ve had a little bit of trouble. I don’t know if they were out there taking groundballs before the game or they had like nine-inch heels or spikes. But they have totally messed up our infield.” – Maddon, Sept. 21.

“I have no problem with any of that (happening at Wrigley Field). Zero. Zilch. Nada. That was an attempt at weak humor yesterday, so I was guilty of that, and I can be very weak at times. Regarding the bad hop, I have no problem with the concert whatsoever. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.” – Maddon, (probably after getting a lecture from the bosses upstairs), Sept. 22.

[RELATED: Jon Lester delivered in Year 1 of megadeal]

“Hopefully, this is the flip of a new generation of Cubs fans and Cubs players and an organization where we can do this every year.” – Rizzo, celebrating at Wrigley Field after a playoff spot had been clinched, Sept. 26.

“I was talking upstairs with Eddie (Vedder). This is like our first record. You put that record out and then things blow up and it’s a whole different time of innocence and exceeding expectations and bursting on the national scene. But these guys care so much about each other. Maybe it’ll get more complicated as time goes by. But I don’t think it will get any less special.” – Epstein, after the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the first playoff series in a rivalry that began 123 years ago, Oct. 13.

“Don’t take it for granted.” – catcher Miguel Montero, after the Cubs reached the NLCS and got swept by the Mets, Oct. 21.

“Managing success can be really difficult. You have to be really careful that you don’t have an organizational arrogance that takes hold or a sense of entitlement or a sense of complacency. But I don’t even think we’re there yet. We’ll deal with that after we win a World Series. We are not there yet. All we did was finally get to October, knock off the Pirates and win a series at home against the Cardinals. But we fell short of our ultimate goal. There’s so much that we have to do to just maintain the level that we accomplished this year, let alone improve upon it and then win the ultimate prize. Nothing is promised in this game. Nothing is promised in life. There are teams that think they have these surefire five-year windows (and) have often seen them slam shut in front of them through bad luck or bad performance or bad decision-making. We don’t take anything for granted. We have to work our tails off to get back to a position where we have another shot at October.” – Epstein, Oct. 22.

2019 encore for Jesse Chavez?


2019 encore for Jesse Chavez?

On July 15, Brandon Morrow recorded his 22nd save of the season with a scoreless inning in San Diego. It wound up being the last time he pitched in a game for the Cubs in 2018. 

Four days later, during the All-Star break, the Cubs made a move to bolster their bullpen, acquiring Jesse Chavez from the Rangers in exchange for minor league hurler Tyler Thomas. It wasn’t even the biggest trade they’d make with the Rangers that month – a little over a week later they dealt for Cole Hamels. 

Despite pitching nearly half the innings, Chavez was almost as valuable as Hamels.

2018 with Cubs IP fWAR
Jesse Chavez 39.0 1.1
Cole Hamels 76.1 1.5

Chavez made his Cubs debut on July 21; from July 21 through the end of the season, 187 pitchers tossed at least 30 innings. 185 of them had a higher ERA than Chavez, while 184 of them allowed more baserunners per 9 innings.

Best ERA, July 21-end of season

(minimum 30 innings) IP ERA
Blake Treinen 32.1 0.56
Jesse Chavez 39.0 1.15
Blake Snell 61.2 1.17
Trevor Bauer 35.0 1.29
Trevor Williams 71.2 1.38
Robert Stock 36.0 1.50

Fewest baserunners per 9 innings, July 32-end of season

(minimum 30 innings) IP BR/9 IP
Blake Treinen 32.1 5.85
Blake Snell 61.2 7.15
Jesse Chavez 39.0 7.15
Jacob deGrom 93.2 7.49
Scott Oberg 30.2 7.63
Josh Hader 33.1 7.83

But how did Chavez transform into one of Joe Maddon’s best bullpen arms down the stretch?  According to Chavez, his own transformation started on Mother’s Day.

Chavez entered a game in Houston with a 5.48 ERA in a dozen appearances, but pitched three innings with no hits, no walks and four strikeouts. From that point through the end of the season, he posted a 1.70 ERA and 0.892 WHIP. 

Chavez points to a change in arm slot which resulted in better consistency and a slight jump in velocity. A glance at his release point charts show that consistency, and he added roughly one mile an hour to his fastball.

"It's kept me more consistent in the zone," Chavez said. "Things have been sharper, velocity has been a lot sharper. I was huffing and puffing trying to get a 92 (mph fastball) out there and it wasn't coming.

"Next thing you know, I dropped it and it's right there, and I'm like, 'something's wrong here.' But I just took it and ran with it."

Jesse Chavez 2018 four-seam fastball velocity

  Average Max
Prior to May 13 92.6 mph 94.6 mph
May 13 on 93.6 mph 95.7 mph

Can Chavez be valuable in 2019?  The 35-year old reliever posted the best ERA (2.55), WHIP (1.059) and walk rate (4.5% - nearly two percent better than his previous best) in 2018, and he continued to get better as the season went on. 

He’s a former starter who can pitch multiple innings if needed, and that’s a valuable thing - especially for a manager like Joe Maddon, who uses his pitchers in a variety of ways. It’s unlikely he’ll have a second consecutive career year.

But he’ll likely be well worth the price tag; he only made $1 million in 2018, and even with a slight raise he should be very affordable. There’s definitely room in Maddon’s bullpen for a pitcher like Chavez.

There's more change coming for the Cubs this offseason, but in what form?

There's more change coming for the Cubs this offseason, but in what form?

David Kaplan said it best on the most recent CubsTalk Podcast:

"I think it's gonna be the most impactful offseason since Theo and Jed have been here."

He's not wrong, which is saying something given the Cubs have had plenty of impactful offseasons in the tenure of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. This is a group that added Joe Maddon and Jon Lester ahead of the 2015 season and then the next winter, added Jason Heyward and surprised everybody by bringing back Dexter Fowler a couple days into 2016 spring training.

Anytime a team sets World Series or bust expectations and instead is going home just one day into the MLB postseason, change is coming. That may be especially true with HOW the Cubs got knocked out — leading the division and boasting the best record in the National League from the All-Star Break all the way through Game 162...yet they didn't even make it to the NLDS.

It's impossible to predict exactly what changes will be coming for the Cubs because as of this writing, three teams still remain and some of the winter's biggest names (Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel) have yet to begin their offseason. There's still so much that can change even before free agency opens.

So if you're looking for a bunch of predictions or projections about what is going to happen in the Cubs world this winter, you're in the wrong spot. But here's where change MAY take place over the next couple months:

Coaching staff

We'll start with the area that will probably have a resolution the soonest. Teams typically prefer to have their coaching staff settled as early as possible into the offseason so they can fill out the roster from there. An added bonus is the new coaches can start reaching out to players on the roster earlier in the offseason if they choose to, as well.

With the Cubs coaching staff, there very well may be more shakeup coming this fall even after Chili Davis was let go last week. All we know for certain is Anthony Iapoce will be the team's new hitting coach in 2019 on Joe Maddon's staff. Beyond that, the Cubs have not publicly confirmed that Jim Hickey or any the other coaches will 100 percent be back next spring. 


There's a potential the Cubs' 2019 Opening Day lineup will be far different from not only the 2018 Opening Day lineup, but also even the NL Wild-Card lineup. 

Like their fans, the Cubs were unhappy with the way the offense performed in the second half, particularly in three of the final four games (the penultimate regular season contest, Game 163 and the Wild-Card game). 

So much has been made of the Cubs' young core of position players over the last few years, but the evaluation has to change after a bunch of the members of "The Core" took steps back in 2018 (Willson Contreras, Addison Russell, Ian Happ, Albert Almora Jr.). 

Kyle Schwarber enjoyed a bit of a resurgent season as he cut down on strikeouts, walked more and boosted his batting average while improving as a defender, but also saw a dip in power and still hasn't taken that big step forward toward one of the league's most feared run producers.

Kris Bryant also obviously experienced a dip in offensive production, but so much of that can be tied into the left shoulder injury that clearly affected his swing.

After a disappointing end to the season that highlighted the offensive shortcomings, Epstein was blatantly honest about how the evaluation of these players has to evolve:

"It has to be more about production than talent going forward," Epstein said. "And that includes our own assessments. Beyond that, it's also trying to understand why we're not where we should be with some individual players. In other words: If you look back, players who do certain things at 22 and 23 should be progressing into a better, more productive phase of their career at 24, 25 and 26.

"I'm the first one to talk about how development and progress — those aren't linear things all the time. There are a lot of ups and downs. But I think there's a trend where Javy took the big step forward, but there are other guys who went the opposite direction or have been trending the opposite direction a little bit. We have to get to the bottom of that.

"It's our job not just to assemble a talented group, but unearth that talent and have it manifest on the field. Because that's ultimately all that matters. It's an assessment on those two fronts. The talent that we have and who's going to be productive, who's not or where we can find that production. And then also understand the environment and are we doing everything that we can in creating just the right situation to get the most out of these guys."

And therein lies a perfect transition into the next category...

Potential trades

With that aforementioned core of young position players, the only former members of "The Core" that have been traded away are Jorge Soler and Starlin Castro. Year after year of trade rumors and yet as of this writing, guys like Schwarber and Russell and Happ remain in Cubs uniforms.

Will that change this winter? Obviously we don't know for sure, but it seems as likely as at any other point in the last few offseasons.

Reading the tea leaves, it would make sense for the Cubs to deal away at least one of those core members this winter to either bolster the bullpen or restock the farm system. 

For starters, the offensive dip in the second half could portend the need for change. It's very hard for a big group of young hitters to all develop on the same path at the same pace, which means the learning curve can lead to prolonged slumps that occur all at the same time — which we've seen often the last few seasons. 

Epstein was also candid about how the players aren't quite as happy with Maddon's ever-changing lineup as they once were which also means the Cubs probably have to shed some of their depth at some point if they truly want more stable playing time. Almora or Happ can't sit on the bench five times a week without completely inhibiting their development path.

The Cubs also showed exactly how they feel about this group of hitters when they went out and acquired Daniel Murphy in August, stressing the need for his "professional at-bats" in the lineup on a consistent basis at the most important time of the season.

Free agency

The Cubs will have World Series expectations in 2019, so once again, they figure to be big players in free agency. Even if they don't wind up with Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, they will at least kick the tires on the two superstars since they're clearly in the market for improved offense.

But beyond the big fish, the Cubs need to add to the bullpen, bolster the lineup, acquire some more shortstop depth and potentially even add a veteran backup catcher to help give Contreras more regular rest. All those moves could come from the free agent market.

Addison Russell

Will he be back? Even if he is still on the Cubs roster at the start of next year, would he make it through the year? The Cubs may eventually trade him, but why give up on him at a time when Epstein said it's important for the organization to support Russell and his value is also the lowest it's ever been? Strictly thinking in a baseball sense, he could be a perfect midseason trade piece.

Regardless of what happens with Russell, there is some change for the Cubs in that for the first time ever, Javy Baez will enter the official offseason as the clear starter at shortstop next year (at least for the first month). 

Defensive puzzle

Whoever the Cubs add this offseason to help the lineup and subtract from the roster that ended 2018 will still have to fit in the same defensive puzzle somehow. For example, if the Cubs signed Machado, they could slot him in at shortstop a bunch, which opens up Baez to float and play second a bunch or third, which moves Bryant to the outfield, which moves Schwarber to the bench. And on and on with any potential move the Cubs make this winter.

On the other hand, taking guys away from the current defensive puzzle also would have ripples throughout the rest of the roster. For example, if Happ is traded away, that also removes a switch-hitter and a guy with a ton of defensive versatility away from the roster. What does that do to the depth chart in the outfield or at third base? 

Starting Rotation

There might not be any change in terms of additions to the Cubs' rotation ahead of 2019, but that's not to say there won't be any movin' and shakin'.

Assuming the Cubs pick up Cole Hamels' $20 million option — which they should and probably will — that will leave them with Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Hamels, Jose Quintana, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Drew Smyly and Mike Montgomery all under contract for next season and all projected to be healthy enough to pitch by the start of spring training. (Before you ask: yes, the Cubs are planning on Smyly as a starter right now; Epstein said as much in September.)

Lester, Hendricks and Quintana are locks for the Opening Day rotation, as is Hamels if that option is picked up. Darvish will surely be in the rotation, too, assuming he's fully over the elbow/triceps issue that limited him to only 40 innings in his first year in Chicago.

So what will the Cubs do with Smyly, Chatwood and Montgomery? Smyly will be on an innings limit in 2019 after missing the last two years due to Tommy John, so it's possible the Cubs opt to switch gears and just throw him in the bullpen to start the year. They may do the same with Montgomery, but will the veteran lefty be OK with that after publicly admitting he wants to start at various points over the last year-plus? Would Chatwood be OK in moving to the bullpen or would the Cubs just move him if he is still having command woes? 

Epstein and Hoyer often remind you can never have too much pitching, but in a way, the Cubs may have too much starting pitching on their roster for 2019 taking up a big part of the team's payroll. Is it possible we'd see a guy get moved this winter as a result? You never know.

40-man roster

This is the most mundane area, as every team makes pretty significant changes on their 40-man roster each offseason — even under the radar. There will always be shakeups with players getting DFA'd to create room for new additions, prospects added to the 40-man roster so as to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, etc.