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Spring training is about to begin, and the Cubs’ Opening Day roster is nearly set

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There will be few, if any, position battles this spring.

Al Yellon

While there’s been much discussion about the non-signing of top free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado (and they’re almost certainly not going to be Cubs), the Cubs have made some small moves, and the guys you will see play later in the spring are likely going to be the players who will be on the roster when the Cubs open the season in Arlington, Texas against the Rangers Thursday, March 28.

Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, February 12 and Wednesday, February 13 the first pitcher/catcher workout will take place at the Sloan Park complex. Actual baseball players doing actual drills on real baseball fields! (Hey, it’s something.)

At cubs.com, Jordan Bastian has a list of the 25 men he thinks will head to Texas when the team breaks camp. They are:

CATCHERS
Willson Contreras
Victor Caratini

INFIELDERS
Javier Baez
Kris Bryant
Anthony Rizzo
Ben Zobrist

OUTFIELDERS
Albert Almora Jr.
Jason Heyward
Kyle Schwarber

UTILITY PLAYERS
David Bote
Daniel Descalso
Ian Happ

STARTING PITCHERS
Yu Darvish
Cole Hamels
Kyle Hendricks
Jon Lester
Jose Quintana

RELIEF PITCHERS
Tony Barnette
Brad Brach
Steve Cishek
Brian Duensing
Carl Edwards Jr.
Brandon Kintzler
Mike Montgomery
Pedro Strop

INJURED LIST
Kendall Graveman
Brandon Morrow

RESTRICTED LIST
Addison Russell

Back in December, I took a look at who I thought would be on the 25-man roster come March 28. This was before the signings of Descalso, Graveman, Barnette, and Brach (the Cubs made Brach’s signing official earlier Monday). Graveman is recovering from Tommy John surgery and not expected to pitch until at least August.

The only differences between the two are Descalso instead of Russell (who will begin the year on the restricted list) and Brach and Barnette instead of Morrow (who’ll be on the injured list) and Chatwood, who will... be somewhere. Of Chatwood, Bastian writes:

This is by no means set in stone, but Tyler Chatwood and Montgomery will be bumped out of the rotation if Darvish is healthy and there are no setbacks for other starters prior to Opening Day. Chatwood’s place on the roster will need to be sorted out during the spring, but the inn will be crowded after adding Barnette and Brach (not official yet) this offseason.

What will happen to Chatwood is anyone’s guess. It would seem too much money for the Cubs to eat (two years, $25 million) to just let him go, but unless Chatwood shows that he can throw strikes this spring, maybe they’ll do it.

Expect to see a lot of the 27 non-roster players the Cubs invited to camp playing in games, especially early; they’ll be fighting for spots on the Triple-A Iowa Cubs roster with the possibility they’ll be needed in case of injuries. But otherwise, I’d say at least 23 of the 25 roster spots are pretty well set as of now.