Cubs

Cubs’ spring training invite list includes some intriguing names

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USA TODAY

Cubs’ spring training invite list includes some intriguing names

For all intents and purposes, the Cubs have few open roster spots for the 2018 season. With a deep bullpen, a youthful position player group and a veteran starting rotation, there are not many openings up for grabs for 2018.

Be that as it may, the Cubs invited 19 non-roster players to major league spring training. Pitchers and catchers will report Feb. 14, followed by the team's first full squad workout on Feb. 19.

Notable invitees include right-handed pitchers Anthony Bass, Craig Brooks and Thomas Hatch, as well as left-hander Kyle Ryan. The team also invited catchers Taylor Davis and Chris Giménez, infielders Ryan Court, Mike Freeman and Chesny Young and outfielder Jacob Hannemann.

Bass, 30, has made 131 appearances (18 starts) across parts of six MLB seasons with the Padres, Astros and Rangers. He has never made more than 33 appearances in a season, but he did make 15 starts in 2012. His best season came in 2011, when he posted a 1.68 ERA along with a .236 batting average against in 27 appearances (three starts).

Brooks, 25, and Hatch, 23, are two of the Cubs' recent early-round draft picks. The Cubs drafted Brooks in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft and Hatch in the third round of the 2016 Amateur Draft. 

Brooks has a 3.85 ERA in 99 career minor league games (all relief appearances), including a 0.44 ERA across 12 appearances with Single-A Myrtle Beach in 2017. He struck out a combined 88 batters in 60 2/3 innings with Myrtle Beach and Double-A Tennessee in 2017, with opponents hitting just .181 against him.

Hatch is the Cubs' seventh best prospect, according to MLB.com. He posted a respectable 4.04 ERA in his debut minor league campaign with Myrtle Beach in 2017. He also struck out 126 batters compared to 50 walks in 124 2/3 innings. While anything can happen, Hatch will likely not make his big league debut until at least the 2019 season.

Ryan is a potential low-risk, high-reward add for the Cubs. He only made eight appearances with the Tigers in 2017 following his 2016 campaign in which he posted a 3.07 ERA in 55 2/3 innings. If he has a good camp, he could make the big league roster or eventually be called up to replace any potential struggling relievers.

Court, 29, was born in Elgin, ILL., and attended Illinois State University, though Cubs fans are likely more familiar with Freeman, who played 15 games with the Cubs in 2017 during Addison Russell's late-season absence due to injury. 

The Cubs drafted Young in the 14th round of the 2014 Amateur Draft and Hannemann in the third round of the 2013 Amateur Draft. The odds are against both players making the Cubs' Opening Day roster, as Young plays second base, third base and shortstop, while Hannemann is an outfielder. The Cubs, of course, are deep at both positions.

Davis became an internet sensation in 2017 due to his tendency to be found staring at television cameras mid-game. Unless he has an outstanding camp, the catcher and corner infielder will likely begin the season with Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .297 in 102 games last season.

The Cubs signed Giménez on Monday to compete with Victor Caratini for the backup catching job. The signing made waves due to the journeyman's link to free agent starting pitcher Yu Darvish.

Here is a complete look at the team's Spring Training roster:

 

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Reds pitcher Amir Garrett apparently held a grudge against Javy Baez for a year

Baseball players don't forget grudges. Javy Baez and Reds pitcher Amir Garrett gave an example of that on Saturday.

Garrett struck out Baez in the seventh inning of the first game of the Cubs-Reds doubleheader. Garrett showed some excitement with the strikeout and then said something to Baez. They both started jawing at each other and suddenly the benches cleared.

At first glance, it looked like Garrett was a bit too excited to get a strikeout with no one on base. Turns out Baez had his own bit of swag for Garrett last year (Friday was the one-year anniversary) in the form of a grand slam at Wrigley Field.

This time Garrett got Baez and wanted to even things up a bit.

Things didn't get too feisty despite the benches clearing, but Anthony Rizzo did rush to Baez's side at some speed. This could be a matchup to keep an eye out for in the future.

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: The greatest Cubs moments at Great American Ballpark

Siera Santos, Kelly Crull, and David DeJesus go into the audio archives to break down the biggest games for the Cubs in Cincinnati.

David DeJesus gives us his top 3 ballgames with such gems as The Schwarber Game, The Kris Bryant Game, Starlin Castro’s debut, and Jake Arrieta’s second no hitter.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: