Just three days ago, I posted this “way-too-early” look at a possible Cubs Opening Day roster.
The Cubs added four players by reported signings within just a few hours after that article was published here.
Several of those players are going to make the Opening Day roster, and others are in the mix.
So, I thought I’d have at this again this morning, with the caveat that it’s subject to change. Again. On the other hand, with the flurry of signings late last week, Jed Hoyer might be just about done accumulating players.
Here goes, then!
Willson Contreras, Yan Gomes
This part of the roster is pretty well locked in. The Cubs have several catchers in camp who could serve as the “break glass in case of emergency” guy at Iowa. P.J. Higgins, who played in a few games for the 2021 Cubs, and John Hicks are the most likely candidates for that role.
Frank Schwindel, Nick Madrigal, Nico Hoerner, Patrick Wisdom, Jonathan Villar, Andrelton Simmons
The signings of Villar and Simmons leave Sergio Alcántara likely without a roster spot, and he’s out of options. David Bote will start the year on the 60-day IL and he might not have a spot waiting on his return, either.
Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Seiya Suzuki, Rafael Ortega, Clint Frazier
In this scenario Michael Hermosillo doesn’t make the team. Like Alcántara, he’s out of options. The signings of Frazier and Suzuki make Harold Ramirez superfluous and I would anticipate he’ll be placed on waivers later in the spring.
Starting pitchers (5)
Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman, Wade Miley, Alec Mills, Drew Smyly
Justin Steele is still in the mix for the fifth starter spot. Keegan Thompson, who made some good starts in 2021, will start against the Reds Monday, but is more likely headed to the bullpen. Smyly could wind up in a swingman role if Steele or Thompson are deemed good enough for the rotation.
What the Cubs do with Adbert Alzolay when he returns from the 60-day IL, no earlier than late May, is still up in the air.
Relief pitchers (8)
David Robertson, Mychal Givens, Rowan Wick, Chris Martin, Daniel Norris, Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Scott Effross
Steven Brault, Cory Abbott, Michael Rucker and Manuel Rodriguez might also be in the mix for the final bullpen spot. I put Effross there because he had some success last year and I like the idea of having a sidearm/submarine guy in the pen, for a different sort of look. The signings of Brault and Givens have not yet been officially announced, and when they are, two players will have to be moved off the 40-man roster to make room for them.
There is still a possibility that MLB and the MLBPA will allow 28-man rosters for the first few weeks of the season. If this happens, that will likely be limited to one additional pitcher (so 14 position players and 14 pitchers).
As always, we await developments.