SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Some of the questions regarding the Cubs' 25-man roster to begin 2014 were answered Wednesday with the waiver claim of Donnie Murphy by the Rangers and the release of George Kottaras.
32 players remain in camp, and that includes three who will start the year on the disabled list: James McDonald, Kyuji Fujikawa and Jake Arrieta. The first two could go on the 60-day DL if 40-man roster spots are needed; two 40-man spots are already needed for Emilio Bonifacio and John Baker, but those spots opened with the departure of Murphy and Kottaras.
First, here's a list of the players who are definitely going north next Monday.
Pitchers: Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel, Carlos Villanueva, Jose Veras, Pedro Strop, James Russell, Wesley Wright
Catchers: Welington Castillo, John Baker
Infielders: Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Mike Olt, Luis Valbuena, Emilio Bonifacio
Outfielders: Junior Lake, Justin Ruggiano, Ryan Sweeney, Nate Schierholtz
That's 21 players. What will be added to that list are likely three pitchers and an outfielder. It still hasn't been announced who will get the fifth-starter slot. If that's Chris Rusin, Carlos Villanueva becomes a reliever and there would be room for two more pitchers; if Villanueva gets the nod, three relievers would be added.
As of now, the three most likely to take those slots are Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm and Alberto Cabrera. Cabrera has been hit hard lately, but is out of options and if the Cubs don't want to risk losing him on a waiver claim, he's probably made the team. Rondon and Grimm both have options remaining, according to AZ Phil at The Cub Reporter.
Given all of that, it seems pretty clear that Ryan Kalish will also make the team. Kalish, once a top Red Sox prospect, missed all of last year with injuries (didn't play at all, not even in the minor leagues). He's had a very good spring and brings speed, defensive ability and on-base skills, and is almost three years younger than Chris Coghlan, another candidate (Kalish turns 26 tomorrow).
That's my take. What's yours?