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Who will be dropped from the Cubs’ 40-man roster when Ben Zobrist returns?

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And will someone need to go off the 25-man roster, if Ben is back before September 1?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Among the worst-kept secrets going is that Ben Zobrist will be added to the Cubs active roster on or around September 1. That addition could require two additional moves, because baseball has quite a few rules. Someone will have to be removed from the 40-man roster if this happens before September 1, since Zobrist is currently on the restricted list. Someone will also need to be deleted from the 25-man roster if Ben is activated before September 1. At the end of the month, which Cub or Cubs will be Zobristed?

One of the first similar moves I remember from the Cubs happened in 1984. The Cubs added Davey Lopes on August 31, 1984 at the old waiver-trade deadline, and he was on the 1984 postseason roster. (Lopes was very useful in a rather tumultuous 1985 campaign.) In that instance, before the outlets talked much about players getting designated for assignment, Jay Johnstone exited. When teams make roster moves, all the boxes have to be checked. They will be checked, in this instance, as well.

My hunch is that one of the players on the 25-man roster will be put on the injured list, whether injured or not. Teams back when didn’t use that strategy much, but it’s rather in vogue, now. With nine relievers in the bullpen, pick one from the low-leverage end, and you might be correct. The easiest would appear to be Pedro Strop, but I’m not convinced he thinks he’s injured. If nobody is willing to get placed on the list, the front office might have a tough call.

I had been critical of Strop a number of years ago after he wrecked his car in the Dominican, shortly after Oscar Taveras died in a wreck in the Dominican. With added time and information, I’m very much on Strop’s side. I don’t want him designated or released. The team’s postseason pitching appearances leader, I’d like him “on the roster” through the season, though by no stretch do I want him on the postseason list. My 25-man fix would be to hide Strop on the injured list for a week and a half, then finish games that are blowouts, either way, thereafter.

As for the 40-man move, it’s a bit straightforward. The Cubs likely have an idea which players on the 40 are unlikely to get tendered a contract next season. The two most obvious DFAs would seem to be outfielder Mark Zagunis and relief pitcher Randy Rosario. I doubt the Cubs specifically want to unload either, but I doubt either would have a significant role in September, any role in October, or a likelihood of being on the roster next season.

My lean, by the slightest of margins, is that the Cubs will retain Zagunis, and designate Rosario. With Brandon Morrow ruled out and Xavier Cedeno, Kendall Graveman and Allen Webster unlikely to require a spot, only one designation should be needed. Nobody else in the pipeline is screaming for a spot. My expectation is that Strop is placed on the injured list, and Rosario is designated. In which direction do you see the Zobrist rostering situation playing out?

Poll

How do you see the roster being adjusted in late-August?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Randy Rosario DFA, Pedro Strop to the IL
    (318 votes)
  • 33%
    Mark Zagunis DFA, Pedro Strop to the IL
    (243 votes)
  • 10%
    Other player DFA
    (80 votes)
  • 7%
    Other player on the IL
    (55 votes)
  • 5%
    Something entirely different (leave in comments)
    (37 votes)
733 votes total Vote Now