February 24, 2018


The Cubs opened spring training with no real jobs on the line. The Chicago roster is set. Only injury or a complete collapse by a player would affect the Opening Day roster.

The rotation is set: Darvish, Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, Chatwood.

The bullpen is set: Morrow, Strop, Cishek, Edwards, Deunsing, Montgomery, Wilson, Alvarez, Grimm.

Position players are set: Contreras, Bryant, Russell, Baez, Rizzo, Schwarber, Almora, Heyward, Happ, LaStella, Zobrist, Gimenez.

The starters appear to be locked in: LF Schwarber, CF Almora, RF Heyward, 3B Bryant, SS Russell, 2B Baez, 1B Rizzo, C Contreras.

The only possible change points are:

1. Grimm. He was not very good in 2017, but the team must like him enough to go to an arbitration hearing against him. The issue is whether the Cubs want to protect AAA starter Eddie Butler, who is out of options, as insurance in case a starter has an injury. Butler would then take Grimm's place as a long reliever in the pen.

2. LaStella. He is always on the bubble because the team has many players who can be "super utility" guys at multiple positions. But Maddon likes LaStella for pinch hitting duties. The only change could happen if outfielder Peter Bourjos makes an impression to become the 2018  Jon Jay 2.0.

The Cubs continue to have the daily lineup issue at lead off. There is no natural lead off hitter on the roster. Will Almora get the chance to lead off and be the every day center fielder? Or will he platoon with Happ?

The only other possible change would be if there was a serious injury to a starting pitcher. One of those position players would have to be used as a trade asset to acquire a proven starter since the minors will not yield a replacement level prospect in 2018. With the acquisitions of Darvish, Quintana and Chatwood, the Cubs are making the statement that it is a World Series of Bust season.