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The Cubs’ 40-man roster samba

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Who should stay, who should go, and who should be added to the 40-man before some upcoming deadlines?

Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Much of my chatter here since late August has been 40-man roster related. Players in a MLB organization are either on the 40-man roster, or off of it. Information exists for fans to defend or oppose keeping the players on said roster, or add them to it (or not), without denigrating them as people or ballplayers. You as a group have done this fantastically well. As the deadline for being added to the roster (for exemption from the Rule 5 Draft) is coming up this Friday, November 19, and the presumed Draft is scheduled for less than three weeks after, setting the 40-man roster is reaching an important stage.

Yesterday, Al and Deputy posted an early analysis of Cubs team payroll for 2022. Today, I’ll assess the current 40-man roster.

As of today the list stands at 35 players, with the addition of Wade Miley. My guess is the Cubs will add between one (Nelson Velazquez) to three (Danis Correa and Andy Weber) to the roster. They also might subtract from zero to three (Jason Adam, Michael Hermosillo and Sergio Alcántara) from the roster. In all 35 seems reasonably close to the number the Cubs will have on the roster heading into the date of the scheduled Rule 5 Draft.

On occasion, teams might make trades (one way or another) with teams who are facing a 40-man roster crunch. Tampa Bay comes to mind. If the Cubs have 35 or 36 on the 40-man heading into the resolution of the work stoppage or lockout, that will give them four or five “free moves” without having to set someone loose. As much as I have opinions on this player or that “being added” or “not being added,” my general preference is for the fringe player to get paid.

Feel free to respond to any of these questions that you have serious feelings about. If you’d rather talk about another topic than fringe 40-man roster players, I appreciate your holding back on cynicism on something I value.

Are there players on the 40 who you think don’t belong there?

Aside from Velazquez, should anyone else be added?

Are you good with the 40 being at or around 36 on December 3?

Do you think the Cubs are going to make a trade or two on November 19, as teams try to make trades to create roster space?

Which sorts of players might be of enough value to the opposition to trade, but not so much value the Cubs would sweat much over losing them? (For instance, second-rounder Donnie Dewees was traded to Kansas City when Alec Mills was designated for assignment by the Royals in 2017.)

Are you happy with how the organization’s depth is developing? Both on the pitching and hitting sides?


Here are my answers to the questions posed above.

I have a very hard time justifying Sergio Alcántara on the 40-man roster. If Michael Hermosillo is valued into 2022, the Cubs ought to concoct a better plan to keep him around than “hope he makes the 26-man roster out of spring training.” That seems questionable, if they invite two or three people to challenge him for the spot.

I’d love for Weber to not be added or selected. On the other hand, if he’s not added to the 40, I’ll be very happy for him if he is selected. If he is selected, I hope he stays where he is, because the players are more important to me than the uniform.

35 or 36 seems about ideal.

A waiver wire claim or a minor trade wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

One guy that seems about in that sweet spot is Manuel Espinoza, who led Myrtle Beach in innings pitched this season.

I’m very satisfied with the developing system depth on both sides, and might lean toward pitchers in the next cycle. I don’t say that often.