Quite a number of relief pitchers, in particular, have gone through the Cubs’ bullpen over the past month, as the team has tried to address what was one of the biggest weaknesses throughout the season.
But that doesn’t mean any of the added pitchers (save the one obvious midseason acquisition) will make it to October baseball with the Cubs.
Here’s who I think is going to make the postseason roster, at least for the division-series round, and of course teams can make changes in between rounds. The only way a team can make a roster move during a playoff series is if someone gets hurt.
The Cubs carried 14 position players and 11 pitchers in both rounds of the postseason in 2015 and I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t do the same this year.
That said, here’s who I think will wind up on the playoff roster.
Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, John Lackey, Jason Hammel, Aroldis Chapman, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Travis Wood, Carl Edwards Jr.
That leaves Joe Smith and Trevor Cahill cheering from the bench. I suppose you could swap one of those guys in for Hammel, who isn’t going to start in a playoff series no matter how well he ends the season, and after Tuesday’s bad outing might even be on the bubble.
Position players (14)
Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler, David Ross, Miguel Montero, Willson Contreras, Javier Baez, Tommy La Stella, Matt Szczur, Chris Coghlan
The Cubs have carried three catchers almost all year and I don’t see any reason they’d change now. It gives Joe Maddon flexibility in pinch-hitting for one of them if needed. The only one of those 14 you could legitimately swap out for someone else is Coghlan, but he has hit reasonably well since his return to the Cubs and gives them an additional lefthanded bat. The only possible substitution for Coghlan would be Albert Almora Jr., who would provide better defense, so the choice is between a more experienced bat and that defense.
You can make cases for some other players, but this is the way I see it, and in reality, there probably isn’t as much competition for these spots as you might think.