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One more look at the Cubs’ choices for the Opening Day roster

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There are still a couple of unsettled positions.

A thoughtful David Ross
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, the Cubs announced that three non-rostered players would be added to the 40-man roster: Rex Brothers, Eric Sogard and Matt Duffy.

While the Opening Day 26-man roster has yet to be made official, those three will certainly be on it.

That leaves a spot or two still undecided, so let’s look at who might wind up on the roster who isn’t already.

Starting pitchers (5)

Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Zach Davies, Trevor Williams, Adbert Alzolay

Relievers (9)

Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Workman, Dan Winkler, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, Alec Mills, Jason Adam, Rex Brothers, Dillon Maples

Personally, I think a 14-man pitching staff is too many, especially since the Cubs have four off days in the season’s first 19. Pitchers will get plenty of rest. On the other hand, pitchers are still ramping up from the 60-game 2020 season, so maybe it’s better to continue to get them more rest. I would expect lots of six-inning outings from the starters, at least to begin the season.

Catchers (2)

Willson Contreras, P.J. Higgins

Higgins is a maybe. Austin Romine hasn’t played since March 6 due to a knee issue and had only nine spring at-bats. On the other hand, Higgins hasn’t shown very well this spring and the Cubs might want to temporarily look elsewhere for a backup to Contreras. That would require a 40-man spot. Rowan Wick to the 60-day injured list is the obvious choice if the team wants to go that way.

Infielders (6)

Anthony Rizzo, David Bote, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Eric Sogard, Matt Duffy

Outfielders (4)

Ian Happ, Joc Pederson, Jason Heyward, Jake Marisnick

Cubs brass really likes Duffy, who played all the infield positions and some outfield as well during the spring. He hit .290 (9-for-31) with two extra-base hits and no walks. Duffy had good years in San Francisco and the Cubs are hoping he can reclaim that level of performance. Between Duffy and Sogard they’ll have to cover some outfield with only one true backup outfielder.

That’s the way the 26-man roster looks as of now. Overall, there are eight players who weren’t with the team in 2020. Later this week we’ll have a look at what that means payroll-wise.