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The last Cubs roster spot: Chris Gimenez or Victor Caratini?

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This would appear to be the only question about the 25-man Opening Day roster.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — The Cubs’ roster cuts announced late Tuesday leave the following 40 players in major league spring camp. Non-roster players listed in italics.

Pitchers (20)

Eddie Butler, Tyler Chatwood, Steve Cishek, Yu Darvish, Brian Duensing, Carl Edwards Jr., Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Dillon Maples, Mike Montgomery, Brandon Morrow, Jose Quintana, Randy Rosario, Shae Simmons, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, Anthony Bass, Justin Hancock, Kyle Ryan

Catchers (5)

Willson Contreras, Victor Caratini, Taylor Davis, Chris Gimenez, Ali Solis

Infielders (10)

Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Ian Happ, Tommy La Stella, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist, Ryan Court, Mike Freeman, Jason Vosler

Outfielders (5)

Albert Almora Jr., Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Mark Zagunis, Peter Bourjos

Of the 10 non-roster players still in camp, the only one who still has a realistic chance of making the Opening Day roster is Chris Gimenez. The other nine will either be released or reassigned to the minor-league camp.

However, as a non-roster player at the moment, Gimenez would have to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be also placed on the 25-man roster. The 40-man roster is currently full, with one additional player (Drew Smyly) on the 60-day DL since he won’t be ready to pitch until August. 60-day DL players don’t count against the 40-man limit.

So who would be a candidate to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Gimenez, if that’s the way the Cubs decide to go? This management team seems to value having a veteran backup catcher, so I think they will most probably go that way.

One way to make room on the 40-man is to try to run a player the team really wants to keep through waivers, hoping that player will clear the waiver process so he can be assigned outright to the minor leagues (most probably to Triple-A Iowa). Candidates for that include Dario Alvarez, Luke Farrell, Cory Mazzoni, Alec Mills and Rob Zastryzny.

Shae Simmons left the game March 7 vs. the Indians with what was described as a shoulder issue. At the time it was said he’d be shut down “for a couple of days.” It’s now been a week, with no news. Shoulder issues can be difficult. If this turns out to be serious, Simmons is a candidate for the 60-day DL, which would clear a spot for Gimenez.

Victor Caratini left Tuesday night’s game with some sort of minor knee issue; it’s not yet known whether this is serious or not. Even if Caratini is OK, I think he still needs time in Triple-A to work on his defense, and so my choice would be to keep Gimenez. Here’s an update on Caratini:

Who’s your choice for backup catcher this year?

Poll

The Cubs’ 2018 backup catcher should be...

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Victor Caratini
    (235 votes)
  • 72%
    Chris Gimenez
    (634 votes)
869 votes total Vote Now