Will the Cubs try to contend in 2023? All indications are that the answer to that question is “Yes.”
The current 28-man active roster is clearly not a playoff team roster, even if several currently-injured players return.
So I’m asking you here to take a look at those 28 players and see how many you think will be on the active roster when the Cubs take on the Brewers on Opening Day next year, March 30 at Wrigley Field. The number 28 is a bit of a cheat, too, as I’m going to include a handful currently on the injured list, so the total number of players listed here is 31.
Here goes! Please remember this is mostly just a thought exercise for discussion.
ALMOST CERTAINLY BACK: 10
Adbert Alzolay, Jeremiah Estrada, Yan Gomes, Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, Brandon Hughes, Christopher Morel, Marcus Stroman, Seiya Suzuki, Hayden Wesneski
These are the Cubs players who I think could be part of a playoff team in 2023 if they’re surrounded by better players. There are three starting pitchers — will need two more, and at least one TOR starter signed in free agency or acquired by trade. Others are under multiyear deals or look like they’re useful as backups.
INJURED PLAYERS ALMOST CERTAINLY BACK: 1
The Professor would make four starters, thus leaving room for one more. I’d like to see the Cubs go after Carlos Rodón in free agency, and reportedly there’s interest from Rodón in coming to the Cubs. “As always, we await developments.”
PROBABLY BACK: 8
David Bote, P.J. Higgins, Zach McKinstry, Manuel Rodriguez, Adrian Sampson, Erich Uelmen, Rowan Wick, Patrick Wisdom
These players have all been useful at times, but none is a “must keep” for a Cubs postseason contender. Bote, under contract for two more years, could possibly be traded.
POSSIBLY BACK: 3
Javier Assad, Franmil Reyes, Nelson Velázquez
The fact that Reyes has sat for a few days and Jared Young and others have DH’d give me the idea that he will be non-tendered.
The Cubs don’t seem to know what to do with Velázquez and he has been just “okay” at the plate.
Assad could be at Iowa as a “break glass in case of emergency” starter.
ROSTER FILLER: 6
Michael Hermosillo, Mark Leiter Jr., Esteban Quiroz, Alfonso Rivas, Michael Rucker, Jared Young
I’m sure all these men are nice guys, work hard and are kind to animals.
But none of them are players I think will be on the next Cubs postseason team, or even the next Cubs team if 2023 isn’t a postseason year.
FREE AGENTS (OR PLAYERS WITH OPTIONS): 3
Willson Contreras, Wade Miley, Drew Smyly
The arguments for or against bringing these players back for 2023 are likely separate articles; I just wanted to list them here to show where they stand at the end of the season.
How many current Chicago Cubs will be on the 2023 Opening Day roster?
21 or more