Starlin Castro and Brad Snyder were sent down to the Cubs minor league camp. The spring training roster is now down to 40 players. With several non roster invitees still in camp with the major league club including Darwin Barney, Kevin Millar, Chad Tracy, Bobby Scales, James Russell, Robinson Chirinos, and Chris Robinson.
Castro is pretty close offensively ready for the majors. After a successful season last year in the minors, and dominating in the Arizona Fall League, Starlin had a great spring training as well. He hit .423/.444/.692, pretty impressive for a nineteen year old. He has great speed as well, and hopefully his power stroke, and plate discipline will come around too.
The fact remains though that he needs to work on his defense. He has great range and very solid arm for a shortstop, but Starlin committed 3 errors in only 56 innings this spring, that coming after 39 errors last year in the minors. Castro has the ability, there is no question about it, but some time to grow up some and practice doing all the little things right, setting his feet before he throws the ball and things like that is only beneficial.
Some time in the minors, will only benefit the Cubs in the long run as well. Castro hasn't played above AA, and he will get a chance to do that. By spending time in the minors, he also won't be arbitration eligible as soon, and the Cubs will be able to keep him for longer without paying him as much.
I believe Darwin Barney and Bobby Scales are competing for a spot on the 40 man roster. Barney is very solid defensively, and Scales helped the team last year after a rash of injuries. Lou Pinella will give Fontenot some more time at shortstop in hopes that he can backup Ryan Theriot and give him a day off here and there. This will also open up a roster spot for Chad Tracy or Kevin Millar. Andres Blanco is out of options and will likely be cut.
Chad Tracy certainly makes the most sense, since he is a viable backup for third base, as well as first base and is left handed. Kevin Millar is limited defensively and is getting way up there in years. Tracy also has a proven track record as a pinch hitter, where as Millar hasn't faired so well coming in to pinch hit.
There is one spot left on the 12 man pitching staff for more information on that just follow the link here. Pitching Staff