Breakdown: Cubs Roster Review


by - Staff Writer -
Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports
Jerry Lai - USA Today Sports

As the baseball season officially got underway on Thursday, the Cubs finalized their initial 30 man roster to break summer camp with and begin the 60 game season.

There are various stipulations to that number of 30. The number is only that high due to the quick ramp-up following baseball's shut down in March due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. As the season progresses, those 30 players will be reduced to 28, and down to the original set number of 26 about 14 days after that.

The rosters were initially set to expand from 25 to 26 on the active list, which should go into effect about a month into the season.

Nonetheless, David Ross and the Cubs finalized the 30 man group ready to break camp when the Cubs take on the Brewers Friday night at Wrigley Field.

The roster is broken up like this:

The Cubs will carry 16 pitchers.

Yu Darvish

Kyle Hendricks

Jon Lester

Tyler Chatwood

Alec Mills

Duane Underwood

Jeremy Jeffers

Rowan Wick

Kyle Ryan

Casey Sadler

Dillon Maples

Brad Weick

Craig Kimbrel

James Norwood

Dan Winkler

Rex Brothers

The rest of the Cubs' roster has 14 hitters:

Infielders

Nico Hoerner

David Bote

Kris Bryant

Jason Kipnis

Anthony Rizzo

Javier Baez

Outfielders

Albert Almora Jr.

Ian Happ

Kyle Schwarber

Steven Souza Jr.

Jason Heyward

Catchers

Josh Phegley

Willson Contreras

Victor Caratini

Roster breakdown:

You may notice that both Jose Quintana and Daniel Descalso are not listed because both players will open the year on the injured list.

As you analyze the Cubs' choices for this roster, there were also a few corresponding moves.

Robel Garcia was designated for assignment after a brief stint with the big league squad in 2019. Mark Zagunis, who saw some time in the outfield a year ago and served as a depth option for the Cubs in 2020, has elected to opt-out of the 2020 season.

Among those who did not make the roster and will be assigned to the South Bend group of players include pitchers Jharel Cotton, Ryan Tepera, Colin Rea, and Danny Hultzen and hitters Hernan Perez, Ian Miller, and PJ Higgins.

Higgins was least likely to make the roster as he is the teams' fourth catcher. Many expected Miller to make the team due to his electric spring and a good attitude, especially with 30 guys — but it appears the Cubs have valued pitching and decided to take Josh Phegley as a third option behind the dish which should give the Cubs some designated hitter flexibility with Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini.

Perez is a reliable utility infielder and backup for Baez at short or Hoerner/Kipnis at second, but the Cubs already have David Bote to serve that role, so it makes sense for him not to make the roster.

Cotton was expected to make the team, but after a shaky few outings in summer camp, it made sense not to bring him to the roster. Tepera looked very good in his limited time, but it appears just as likely that the Cubs will see him on the major league roster at some point this year, same goes for the youngster Colin Rea — the Cubs decided to take the consistency of James Norwood and the upside of Dillon Maples as opposed to select either of those guys.

The rest of the roster was fairly expected, aside from the obvious Kimbrel, Wick, Weick, Ryan, and Jeffers in the bullpen. The final spots went to Winkler, Sadler, Brothers, Maples, Norwood, and Underwood, who lit it up against the Sox and Twins this week.

The Cubs will still have a pool of nearly 30 players staying loose and ready in South Bend should the Cubs face injuries, struggles, or even *God Forbid* an outbreak of Covid-19.

But for now, the Cubs have their 30 to break camp and begin the 60-game sprint on Friday.

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