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2014 Iowa Cubs slowly taking shape

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Major League Baseball’s annual winter meetings begin on Monday in Orlando, Florida. The event has become synonymous with wheeling and dealing between teams. The Chicago Cubs have a few items on their shopping list, needing some pitching and right-handed hitting in the outfield. The decisions the Cubs make this week are certain to affect the Iowa Cubs as well.

Gone from the 2013 Iowa Cubs are J.C. Boscan (Dodgers), Zach Putnam (White Sox), and Eduardo Sanchez (Tigers). Outfielder Dave Sappelt was also given his release by the organization.

Recent transactions also include the re-signing of pitcher Jeff Antigua and outfielder Darnell McDonald, both of whom figure to be back in an Iowa uniform in 2014.

The Cubs also recently announced the signing of OF Aaron Cunningham, SS Walter Ibarra, C Eli Whiteside, IF Chris Valaika, OF Casper Wells, P Carlos Pimentel, P Paolo Espino, and IF Jeudy Valdez to minor league contracts.
Rumors have the Cubs shopping pitcher Jeff Samardzija. If he is moved, some of the prospects the Cubs land in the deal will likely end up playing in Des Moines at some point during 2014.

While the 2014 Iowa roster won’t be finalized until early April, the infield seems to be set with the 2013 double-A Tennessee Smokies infield all getting promoted. 3B Christian Villanueva, 2B Arismendy Alcantara, 1B Justin Bour, and all-everything shortstop Javier Baez should be patrolling the infield. Josh Vitters pencils in as the left fielder unless moved before the season and Darnell McDonald should also fill a spot in the outfield.

Pitching and catching are big question marks going into 2014 for Iowa. Perhaps those questions will begin to be answered during the next week.

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