Countdown to Camp: Infield
February, 4, 2014
By Jesse Rogers
Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY SportsAnthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro regressed in 2013, creating two big question marks for 2014.With Chicago Cubs spring training set to begin Feb. 14 in Mesa, Ariz., we’re taking an early look around the diamond.
Major additions since Opening Day 2013: Mike Olt, Donnie Murphy, Logan Watkins
Subtractions: Ian Stewart
Holdovers: Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Luis Valbuena
Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez are nearing completion of their minor league careers, while Olt, the newcomer from Texas, is a bit of an X factor.
Outlook: There is so much competition coming in the infield it can only be a good thing for the Cubs. Castro might be hearing Baez's name more and more, and Barney is certain to feel the heat from a few places. Valbuena and Murphy were more than admirable in their production, but Baez and even Olt -- if he recovers from eye issues -- have much higher ceilings. There’s a very good chance whoever starts on Opening Day at second and third won’t be the starter in the season finale. Half the infield is set with long-term deals; the other half is up for grabs.