By cutting the roster by seven players Monday, the Cubs crept just a little bit closer to playing some meaningful baseball. Dan Vogelbach, Eric Jokisch, and Andury Acevedo were optioned to AAA and Duane Underwood, Jack Leathersich, Jonathan Pettibone, and Armando Rivero were reassigned to minor league camp.
None of the moves is earth-shattering and this isn’t some kind of unexpected harbinger, but it is a sign that things are starting to come into focus for the Cubs in Mesa. Then again, the roster is still more than double what they’ll break camp with next month. Wait, so what does this mean again?
No changes were evident in Monday’s game, which saw 18 position players and six pitchers grace the scorecard. But despite the wholesale changes, we got perhaps our clearest look at something resembling the team we’ll watch during the regular season.
The first seven spots in the order were taken up by starters or semi-regulars and Jake Arrieta was on the mound for 4 whole innings. Baby steps, but steps forward nonetheless.
Having several of the upcoming games — 11 of 18, to be exact — televised on CSN, WGN, ESPN, and MLB Network will certainly make it feel more real. When you have to follow via a Gameday app that sometimes fails to register anything but strikes, it’s very easy to marginalize the exploits on the field. That’s even more true when tuning in during the 5th inning reveals a team filled with guys whose first names you only remember after clicking their profile.
It’ll be a while yet before we can start worrying about the scores, but I am very much looking forward to the day when I can stop feeling the need to talk people off the ledge over the Cubs’ poor Spring Training record.