Cubs add 4 players to 40-man roster
The Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year Logan Watkins was added to the club’s 40-man roster. (Photo by Rodger Wood)
The Cubs added right-handed pitchers Trey McNutt and Robert Whitenack and infielders Christian Villanueva and Logan Watkins to the 40-man roster Tuesday, the last day to protect prospects from next month’s Rule 5 draft. The Cubs also designated Brian LaHair for assignment and optioned righty Carlos Gutierrez to Triple-A Iowa.
McNutt, who is currently ranked eighth on the Cubs’ Prospect Watch list, went 9-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 34 appearances (17 starts) with Double-A Tennessee. In four minor league seasons, the 23-year-old has a 27-16 record with a 3.45 ERA. After being selected in the 32nd round of the 2009 draft, McNutt started the Single-A Midwest League All-Star Game in 2010, was a midseason Double-A Southern League All-Star in 2011 and was a 2011 Arizona Fall League rising star. He has recently thrived after a move to the bullpen.
Villanueva, a slick-fielding third baseman, came over from the Rangers in the midseason deal for Ryan Dempster. The organization’s No. 7 prospect hit .279 with 24 doubles, 14 homers, 68 RBI and 14 stolen last season between Single-A Daytona and Texas’ Single-A affiliate, Myrtle Beach. The 2011 mid- and postseason All-Star in the South Atlantic League was signed by the Rangers in 2008 as a nondrafted free agent from Guadalajara, Mexico.
Watkins, the Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, batted .281 with 93 runs, 20 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs and 52 RBI for Double-A Tennessee. He led the Southern League in runs scored, was second in triples and walks (76), and was fourth in on-base percentage (383). The 23-year-old possesses a career average of .285 with a .372 on-base percentage and was selected in the 21st round of the 2008 draft.
Whitenack joined Single-A Daytona in May after missing part of 2011 with Tommy John surgery. He went 1-6 with a 5.96 ERA in 15 starts. The organization’s No. 13 prospect was drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 draft, and has a career 19-18 record in the minors.
LaHair, who was designated for assignment, was a 2012 National League All-Star, batting .259 with 16 home runs and 40 RBI in 130 games for the Cubs. LaHair and the Cubs are reportedly working on a deal with a Japanese team. Gutierrez was claimed off waivers by the Cubs from the Twins on Oct. 24.
The Cubs’ current 40-man roster:
* – LHP