“It’s not easy (releasing players) and it’s the toughest thing in this business to tell someone they’re no longer with this organization,” Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel/Farm Director Oneri Fleita said last year. “You can’t keep everyone and as you get better and more competitive, the decisions become more difficult.”
The typical release of a minor league player in spring camp is as follows:
A player is signaled into the office of the farm director, usually some time in the morning when players arrive for daily stretching/running exercises. The news is then given to the player, usually with a coach or instructor present as a formal witness.
Many a pleasantry is exchanged between player and club.
“Sorry to see you go,” a player might hear.
“Think the world of you ... wish it had worked out,” another is told.
“Just don’t have enough room for you,” one will hear.
The Cubs gave the bad news to three players this week: OF Chris Walker, LHP Tim Layden, and RHP Miguel Cuevas-Novas.
Walker’s tenure with the organization ended after six seasons. A sixth-round draft pick from Georgia Southern in 2002, he finished with a career .272 batting average.
Walker, 27, played in 92 games last year, primarily at Class AAA Iowa. He was invited to big league camp as a non-roster invite and appeared in 11 games before being returned to minor league camp. He missed playing time with an ankle injury in 2007.
Layden, 25, was a sixth-round Cubs draft pick from Duke in 2004. He logged 230 innings over four seasons, mostly at Single A. He was 1-7 with a 5.59 ERA in 61 2/3 innings a season ago between Class AA Tennessee and High A Daytona.
Cuevas-Novas, 24, was a 36th-round Cubs draft pick in 2006 that appeared in 19 games for the club in two seasons. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound right-hander was 1-0 with a 4.47 ERA in 32 2/3 innings last year, primarily at Class A Peoria.
The Cubs do not announce a complete or “official” list of minor league players that are released from camp each spring. Most releases typically occur during the last week of minor league camp as full-season rosters begin to take shape.