Today Cubs manager David Ross announced the Cubs’ roster to begin the season. The current roster is 30 players, which will eventually be whittled down to 26. Let’s see what we’re working with…
Willson Contreras, Victor Caratini, Josh Phegley – No surprises here. The Cubs were able to open a couple spots on the 40 man by putting Daniel Descalso on the 45-day IL (Good on Daniel, he still pulls his MLB pay), and designating Robel Garcia for assignment. Phegley will come in handy on days when Contreras or Caratini are DHing, or if Anthony Rizzo needs a day off and Ross decides Vic or Josh are his best option over there.
Anthony Rizzo, David Bote, Jason Kipnis, Javier Baez, Nico Hoerner, Kris Bryant – Again, no surprises. I think they really wanted Hernan Perez to happen, but he’s off to the taxi squad. Bote can be a jack-of-all-trades guy, but any time he’s at short will be an adventure. Hoerner’s a pretty solid shortstop, so he can move between second and short. In fact, Kipnis and Rizzo are the only two here that only play one infield position.
Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Steven Souza – The only question here was whether Ian Miller would make the big club or not. “Not” won. The only question mark for this club is how Souza and his knee hold up this year. Not to mention, if you put him in the outfield, is Ross more willing to sacrifice Schwarber’s bat or Heyward’s defense?
STARTING PITCHERS (5 + 1IL):
Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Jon Lester, Alec Mills, Jose Quintana – Quintana is still not ready to go for the season, so he’s on the 10 day IL to start. In the meantime, we’ve all known the order for a couple days.Not sure why Ross wouldn’t want to get Lester in there against Milwaukee’s lefty bats, but being second guessed by clods with websites goes with the territory. Either Mills or Chatwood will roll off into the bullpen once Quintana is ready.
Jeremy Jeffress, Rowan Wick, Brad Wieck, Craig Kimbrel, Kyle Ryan, Dillon Maples, Dan Winkler, Rex Brothers, Duane Underwood, James Norwood, Casey Sadler – This is basically extended camp for these guys. The four spots that get trimmed will come from here. But there are some intriguing guys here. Jeffress’ velocity was ticking up in Arizona, and has been here too. Maples has – Is it fair to call it electric stuff? It is more nuclear. The problem is, he’s basically Mitch Williams without the fun of looking like his hair is on fire when he pitches. Brothers is looking like a pretty solid option from the left side. I can’t figure out why the Dodgers didn’t keep Sadler. Underwood looks like he has better command of his stuff this year, and should be a big league reliever for at least the next couple years. Kimbrel can’t possibly be as bad as last year, can he?
At some point we’ll get to looking at the taxi squad – who’s down there, what they’re doing, etc. But for the 5 people in the Chicago area lucky enough to have Marquee, these are the guys cluttering up your screen as they charge forward to anywhere from first to fourth place.