Opening Day of the 2021 MLB season is just 13 days away, and the Cubs are getting closer to setting a roster for that game at Wrigley Field against the Pirates.
Today, the Cubs made nine cuts from the spring roster.
James Norwood, Kyle Ryan and Justin Steele have been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Brailyn Márquez has been optioned to Double-A Tennessee.
Ryan, who has appeared in 91 games for the Cubs the last two seasons, has not pitched in spring games, as he was late in reporting due to COVID-19. Since he has options remaining, putting him on the Iowa roster was probably the best solution for him for now. Norwood always seems like an intriguing bullpen option as he can throw 97+, but he has not had good results at the MLB level.
Márquez also has not pitched in spring games and was not expected to break camp with the team. He’ll be an intriguing pitcher to watch at Double-A, once that season begins.
Five non-roster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: pitcher Joe Biagini, catcher Jose Lobaton and outfielders Michael Hermosillo, Nick Martini and Ian Miller.
A reminder that in this year’s spring training, where there’s no minor-league camp from which players can be drawn to finish up spring games, these reassigned players could still play in spring games going forward.
The Cubs’ spring roster now stands at 38 players: 21 pitchers (which includes five non-roster invitees), three catchers (one non-roster invitee), eight infielders (two non-roster invitees) and six outfielders (two non-roster invitees).
The non-roster players who still have a chance to make the Opening Day roster include Eric Sogard, Matt Duffy, Cameron Maybin, Shelby Miller, Rex Brothers and P.J. Higgins.