My Take on the 40-Man Roster and Rule 5 Players

Based upon Al's article a few days ago, I thought I would make a post on the 40-man roster. What I decided to do was to list all current players on the 40-Man Roster and all the players who will be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft unless they are placed on the 40-man roster after the season ends. I compiled this list from Fangraphs.

I organized players by position (catcher, infield, outfield, starting pitcher, and relief pitcher) and then alphabetized the players within each group.

This is a long list of players (over 100 total) and you can clearly see the roster crunch of trying to winnow this list down to 40 players.

I think it's important to think about the 40-man roster and how many types of players for each position group. Right now, the Cubs have 22 position players, and 18 pitchers on the 40-man, but I'm going to assume a 20/20 split. Of that I'm going to assume the final 40-man roster will approximately be:

4 – Catchers

8 – Infielders

8 – Outfielders

10 - Starting Pitchers

10 - Relief Pitchers

For each section, I put the players in bold that I think are likely options for the 40-man roster. I also have some commentary after each section.


· Aliendo, Pablo

· Amaya, Miguel

· Contreras, Willson

· Fabrizio, Miguel

· Gomes, Yan

· Higgins, PJ

· Quintero, Malcolm

· Susnara, Tim

I think the catchers are more straight-forward than most people think. I imagine Amaya, Gomes, and Higgins being on the 40-man roster. The big question is whether the Cubs re-sign Contreras. If they don't, then I suspect they will sign another MLB-ready catcher and have 4 on the 40-man roster.


· Ball, Bryce

· Bote, David

· Garcia, Reivaj

· Hoerner, Nico

· Huma, Josue

· Jordan, Levi

· Madrigal, Nick

· Maldonado, Nelson

· McKinstry, Zach

· Morel, Christopher

· Morel, Rafael

· Mora, Juan

· Pertuz, Fabian

· Quiroz, Esteban

· Rivas, Alfonso

· Santana, Yeison

· Schwindel, Frank

· Slaughter, Jake

· Strumpf, Chase

· Vazquez, Luis

· Verdugo, Luis

· Weber, Andy

· Windham, Bryce

· Wisdom, Patrick

· Young, Jared

· Zinn, Delvin

Reducing the infielders to 8 is trickier. I conservatively have 13 players that can make this list of 8. Of this list, I think Hoerner, Madrigal, Morel, and Wisdom are the only 4 guarantees to be on the 40-man. That means the other 9 players are vying for 4 slots. I would personally select Bote, McKinstry, Schwindel, and Strumpf even though I understand arguments for other players. Jake Slaughter is hitting everything in Tennessee and Jared Young is doing well in Iowa. Also, there’s the question of Matt Mervis who is doing well in AAA but not on the 40 man and doesn’t reach R5 status until 2023. It’s possible the Cubs DFA Schwindel or Rivas for Mervis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t promote Mervis yet. I think Mervis has some bad luck with the roster crunch. The Cubs can afford to delay his 40-man promotion for another 6-12 months given the needs elsewhere. I understand some fans will be upset that Bote or Schwindel are on the team while Mervis isn’t – but Bote and Schwindel still have options and the Cubs can DFA them in 2023 to make way for Mervis. I think one takeaway is that this is not a very exciting list, which shows that the Cubs really need upgrades at infield.


· Alcantara, Kevin

· Artis, DJ

· Canario, Alexander

· Crook, Narciso

· Davis, Brennan

· Happ, Ian

· Hermosillo, Michael

· Heyward, Jason

· Hill, Darius

· Ortega, Rafael

· Pagan, Ezequiel

· Perlaza, Yonathan

· Pinango, Yohendrick

· Reyes, Franmil

· Roederer, Cole

· Suzuki, Seiya

· Velazquez, Nelson

The Cubs outfield situation is clearer than I imagined. I think there are 6 players who will clearly be on the 40-man roster. This includes Suzuki, Reyes, and Happ. (Remember, I have Morel in the IF category). Also, the Cubs would be negligent if they don’t protect Alcantara, Canario, and Davis. Actually, the front office should get fired if they don’t protect those guys. Therefore, that only leaves 2 other outfielders. Who do you choose?

It’s a tough choice.

I would choose Darius Hill and Nelson Velazquez, but it’s close and I fully understand other arguments. Maybe Crook, maybe Perlaza, maybe the known reliability of Ortega.

Starting Pitchers

· Albertos, Jose

· Assad, Javier

· Brown, Ben

· Burgmann, Josh

· Casey, Derek

· Clarke, Chris

· Cruz, Yovanny

· Devers, Luis

· Espinoza, Manuel

· Estrada, Jeremiah

· Franklin, Kohl

· Gallardo, Richard

· Gonzalez, Saul

· Hendricks, Kyle

· Jaramillo, Gabriel

· Jensen, Ryan

· Kilian, Caleb

· Marquez, Brailyn

· McAvene, Michael

· Miley, Wade

· Mills, Alec

· Nahas, Joe

· Patterson, Jake

· Remy, Peyton

· Rodriguez, Luis Angel

· Sampson, Adrian

· Sanders, Cam

· Smyly, Drew

· Stroman, Marcus

· Steele, Justin

· Thompson, Keegan

· Thompson, Riley

· Wesnecki, Hayden

I believe there are 8 definite starting pitchers to be placed on the 40. This includes Ben Brown, Hendricks, Kilian, Marquez, Stroman, Steele, Thompson, and Wesnecki. In fairness, I’m tempted to just stop the list here because the Cubs will probably pick up 2 starting pitchers in free agency, but I’m going to select Javier Assad and Ryan Jensen. I entirely understand that Adrian Sampson is more accomplished than these two, but I think a 1-WAR 30-year-old pitcher is replaceable in free agency, whereas Assad and Jensen have some upside given their age. Also, Luis Devers is tough to pass up as he’s dominating South Bend, but he might be on the wrong side of the cut.

Relief Pitchers

· Alzolay, Adbert

· Bigge, Hunter

· Brault, Steven

· Castro, Kervin

· Correa, Danis

· Espinoza, Anderson

· Heuer, Codi

· Hudson, Bryan

· Hughes, Brandon

· Johnson, Kyle

· King, Bryan

· Leiter, Mark

· Little, Brendon

· Mekkes, Dakota

· Newcomb, Sean

· Reyes, Samuel

· Roberts, Ethan

· Rodriguez, Manuel

· Rucker, Michael

· Short, Wyatt

· Uelmen, Erich

· Uekert, Cayne

· Valdez, Dauris

· Vizcaino, Alexander

· Whitney, Blake

· Wieck, Brad

The relief pitchers could go in a lot of different directions, but I would have the following 10 players on the 40-man roster: Alzolay, Brault, Espinoza, Heuer, Hudson, Hughes, Little, Reyes, Rucker, and Wieck.

That brings my Cubs November-offseason roster to:

Catchers (4): Amaya, Gomes, Higgins, and Contreras or a free agent signing

Infielders (8): Bote, Hoerner, Madrigal, Morel, Wisdom, McKinstry, Schwindel, and Strumpf

Outfielders (8): Alcantara, Canario, Davis, Happ, Hill, Reyes, Suzuki, and Velazquez

Starting Pitchers (10): Assad, Brown, Hendricks, Jensen, Kilian, Marquez, Steele, Stroman, Thompson, Wesnecki

Relief Pitchers (10): Alzolay, Brault, Espinoza, Heuer, Hudson, Hughes, Little, Reyes, Rucker, and Wieck

I understand this list of 40 really needs to be 35 or 36 because there will need to be a handful of free agent signings and/or trades to improve the roster. I also recognize that this roster is not quite good enough to compete for the division. However, despite the poor W-L record for the Cubs, I’m eager to see how players perform during the last 6 weeks, especially those players that are on the margins on the 40-man roster and have a lot to play for.

I’m curious what you all think. Are there some additions you agree with, or omissions you disagree with? How does this 40-man end-of-the-year roster look to you?

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