A Look Ahead: Cubs 2014 Opening Day Roster

Let me start this by saying that I know projecting these things is a crapshoot. I will be wrong. But it's fun anyway.

There are several factors to consider when projecting a future lineup. I will go over the key ones I looked at and then finish up with a starting 8 and a five man rotation. I didn't do bullpen, because that's hard.

First of all, who are our pending free agents? Garza and Navarro will be packaged in a trade in the coming weeks, in my opinion, so let's scratch them. Throw out Gregg too, because he'll be leaving us as well. That leaves Scott Baker and Matt Guerrier as UFA and David DeJesus with a club option. I already said I'm not projecting bullpen, so it doesn't really matter about Guerrier. I think we bring back Scott Baker on another 1 year deal and pick up the option on DeJesus. If I'm missing any potential free agents, let me know in the comments.

As far as the overall 2014 Free Agent class goes, I know Choo is a popular option, but I think we bring in Jacoby Ellsbury and here's why. Ellsbury is a Theo/Jed guy. They picked him in the first round in 2005 and he really has been a solid, solid baseball player. I know for sure there will be other free agent pick ups, but I think Ellsbury will be the most notable and probably the only "new" starter out of the crop. We could go after a catcher or corner outfield, maybe even a 3B stopgap, but again, I will be wrong.

Who are some guys on our roster now that will contribute regularly to the big league club in 2014 (that weren't regulars in 2013)? I think Brett Jackson has to be on the MLB roster, along with Matt Szczur, and probably Junior Lake, and maybe (it's my projection, not yours) Alismendy Alcantara. Guys like Soler, Baez, Almora, Villanueva, etc are still not MLB ready yet. Arodys Vizcaino is an interesting case, as I think he probably cracks the rotation if he's healthy and like he was pre-injury, but I didn't project him in my 5 man rotation.

So on to the good stuff

CF- Ellsbury

SS- Castro

1B- Rizzo

LF- Schierholtz

RF- DeJesus

3B- Lake (probably Valbuena, but Junior Lake is a prospect crush of mine)

C- Castillo

2B- Barney (maybe Lake, or to a lesser extent Alcantara)

Rotation- Samardjiza, Wood, Jackson, Baker, Villanueva (who will probably get pushed to the pen in favor of an internal option, free agent, or return from the Garza deal)

Bench guys: Lake, Alcantara, Jackson, Szczur, backup C

You also probably noticed I (optimistically) rid us of Soriano. This probably won't happen either, but hey, you never know.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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