SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- I touched on this in Monday morning's post, but I wanted to get a bit more detailed about who will be on the Cubs' 25-man roster April 4 and who's on the bubble for the handful of opening spots.
Just wanted to open this topic up for discussion before this afternoon's game. As you surely know, the 25-man roster has been almost completely set since spring camp began. It's a sign of how good this Cubs team is that many of the non-roster guys who in recent years might have come north with the team, will either be let go or spend much of their summer in Des Moines.
Here's how I see the roster taking form. Players on the bubble are listed (in parentheses).
Starting pitchers (5)
Jake Arrieta Jon Lester John Lackey Jason Hammel Kyle Hendricks
No surprises here, with the possible exception of Hendricks, who was said to be "on the bubble" for the rotation when camp began. His strong outings so far have locked up a rotation spot. If he continues to throw as well as he has this month, he could be the best fifth starter in the major leagues.
Bullpen (7 or 8)
Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Justin Grimm Travis Wood Trevor Cahill Adam Warren Clayton Richard (Neil Ramirez)
Ramirez, obviously, is the question mark. Is he completely healthy? Is the "new normal" for him topping out at 93 miles per hour instead of 96? Will he start the year on the disabled list? If so, will the Cubs keep another reliever or go with an extra position player?
Miguel Montero David Ross
For the purposes of this post, I'm listing Kyle Schwarber as an outfielder, though he will certainly catch a fair number of games.
Infielders (5 or 6)
Anthony Rizzo Ben Zobrist Addison Russell Kris Bryant Javier Baez (Tommy La Stella) (Munenori Kawasaki)
TLS and Mune are both on the bubble. TLS hasn't played in a spring game in a couple of weeks and didn't run when he batted in a minor-league game on Saturday. Kawasaki has played well in camp, perhaps well enough to be a 25th man. The Cubs' 40-man roster stands at 39, so there's room to add him if needed.
Outfielders (4 or 5)
Jason Heyward Dexter Fowler Jorge Soler Kyle Schwarber (Matt Szczur) (Shane Victorino) (Matt Murton)
Szczur is out of options, so the Cubs will have to make a decision. He hasn't played in a spring game yet, but is supposed to get some playing time beginning today. Victorino and Murton have both been out, Victorino with an injury, Murton after having his appendix removed. Both are longshots to make the team.
Your thoughts, as always, welcome.