Ahem... Perhaps that iconic bit of Chicago-inspired SNL history is lost on you, just like the minor-league signing the Cubs made a couple days ago:
Or maybe you did know; he was a fairly big-name amongst relief free agents on the market this off-season.
At any rate, the Cubs were able to snag the lefty on a non-guaranteed deal when Phil allegedly had MLB deals on the table. So, much like last years signing of Emilio Bonifacio, it seems like all Phil has to do is look like a semi-competent pitcher this spring and he'll make the roster.
You can find Emilio all over the diamond on the other side of town this year
Plus, the Cubs surprisingly cut their only experienced situational lefty, Wesley Wright, this winter. So, while his overall numbers were pretty bad last year for the Tigers (3.88 ERA in 58 innings), it appears as though he was over-exposed to righties (126 AB vs. righties, 108 AB vs. lefties). He figures to be the favorite for the LOOGY.
I guess he wasn't the "Wright" fit
Meanwhile, I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss the other non-roster guys I have cards for, lest they be cut before I get the chance:
About a month ago, it was reported that the Cubs had signed Feliciano to a minor-league deal; but, as of today, it still has not been announced. But, until I hear otherwise, I'm considering him as part of the organization. There's a lot of mileage on that arm and he hasn't pitched much in the last few years due to injury, but it doesn't hurt to let him compete with Coke for that LOOGY spot.
Bard is a Theo guy and essentially took last season off from pro baseball after a series of setbacks in the Rangers organization. This is actually the second time he's been acquired by the Cubs, as Theo and Jed claimed him off waivers in September of 2013, but he never appeared in a game. If he can finally harness his control with a little Bos-mosis, he'd be a compelling darkhorse bullpen piece.
Adron (apparently pronounced as "Adrian") is a one-dimensional speedster who's greatest achievement in baseball thus far has been appearing on an inordinate number of 2012 Topps Heritage floating head rookie cards. The Cubs outfield is very crowded, but if he hangs around in AAA until September and the Cubs are in contention, he'd make a nice addition to the roster as a pinch-running specialist.
Joe is actually not a non-roster invitee, but a waiver claim. However, I'm including him here because he is far from being guaranteed a roster spot. He's another lefty to add to the mix, coming over from the Rangers organization. I would have considered him the favorite for the LOOGY until the Coke signing, seeing as he'd likely be lost to waivers if run through again. But, the water is a lot more murky now.
I'm doubly prepared to add Herrera to my CATRC if he should break camp with the team. The defensive-whiz is pretty weak with the stick (.233 is 90 AB in '14) and the Cubs middle-infield is almost as crowded as the outfield (Castro, Baez, LaStella, Alcantara, etc.). But, if an injury were to occur, he may very well head to Chicago. Also (should he stick around long enough) like Chambers, he'd be extremely useful off of the bench come September.
These two guys are much more "prospecty" than those we've already discussed. Corey came over from New York in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and just broke Hunter Pence's arm. Armando came over from Cuba in 2013 and is darn near ready for the Show. It's highly unlikely they come north, but it is quite possible that they end up in the Bigs before 2014 is over.
Meanwhile, these two prospects are not breaking camp with the big league club; Bryant for service time reasons and Almora for more minor league seasoning.
Surely you know the scoop on Bryant at this point. MLB's top prospect will probably be called up as soon as three weeks on the MLB calendar go by so as to secure an extra year of club control.
Almora's bat hasn't developed as quickly as hoped and he's ticketed for AA to further flesh it out. Patience will be his main concern in West Tennessee.
There you have it, my non-expert, incomplete and slightly rushed opinion on the Cubs non-roster invitees. Non-expert because I am a baseball card blogger, not a beat-writer. Incomplete because there are several other non-roster invitees (Hunter Cervenka, Anthony Carter, Donn Roach & Germen Gonzelez) come to mind, but I don't have any cards of these guys. Rushed, because I'm going to the Windy City Brewhaha this afternoon and I really need to start getting ready!
I'll be spending all afternoon tasting craft beer; what a labor, right?
I'll leave you here with this, the classic Saturday Night Live skit alluded to in the title of this post; I really need to get up and shower and stuff.