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Andrew Romine’s DFA opened a Cubs 40-man roster spot. How should they fill it, now and later?

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Decisions will have to be made about who to keep, who to add, and who to let go.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The last time I chatted here about assessing the Cubs’ offseason 40-man roster, that roster seemed porous. Ryan Meisinger and Jake Jewell hadn't been DFAd yet. Adam Morgan was more "old" than "effective." Frank Schwindel hadn't vaulted his way onto the "for certain" side yet. Andrew Romine hadn't been DFAd. Now that Romine is gone, there’s an open 40-man spot.

Assessing the 40-man roster, for both the November and December deadlines, seems a far more useful time-occupier, for now, than worrying about free agent signings.

Free agent signings are sexier than tendering offers to relievers. The four-year, $72 million offer (hypothetically) sends a sign that the team "is serious." However, decisions to be made in November could tilt the landscape come February. While the February addition might be more compelling, following the first steps first seem advised before trying to win the free agent season.

Of the Cubs currently on the 40-man roster and not headed to free agency, a solid case can be made for keeping most of them (though not all of them) for next season. For instance, Scott Effross had a fantastic outing against the Reds on Monday. It's really hard to make a case to non-tender him this off-season. Morgan has been really good lately, as well. The Cubs hold his rights, if they want him.

It might be nice to locate a team that would offer a proper return for Dillon Maples in the offseason, but that might be a difficult trick. Trevor Megill and Michael Rucker provide rather high highs, and low lows, but this is about 2022 and beyond, not 2021. Toss in an empty 40-man roster spot (which really ought to be filled soon), and assessing talent never ends. If it boils to calling up someone from Iowa, infielder Jared Young, relievers Brendon Liitle or Ethan Roberts, or starting pitcher Matt Swarmer make the most sense. I'd prefer a waiver wire add, probably, for the same reason Frank Schwindel made sense in July.

I was expected the Cubs would collapse in September, making the decisions easy. They haven't. They aren't. Having the 40-man roster to 34 or 35 by early December would be easy.

Having it to the proper 34 or 35 would be harder. What are your thoughts on who should still be on the roster (or added to it) by the morning of the Rule 5 Draft? Mainly of the players currently on the roster. Who, and why?