The Cubs have a problem.
It’s a good problem, a really good in problem in fact. But it is a problem nonetheless. They have more than 25 players that should be on the active roster. We’re already seeing the issues it’s causing with Tommy La Stella, who was sent down because he had options left, refusing to report to Des Moines and instead chill out at home.
This will get even more interesting when the postseason rolls around. Who will make the 25 man roster? We’re going into this assuming everyone outside of Kyle Schwarber is healthy (Strop should be back) and that it’s matchup neutral, just the 25 guys that give them the best shot to win.
We’ll start with the pitching staff. It’s safe to assume that all five of the starters will be on there, even with a four man rotation. My best guess would be that we see Jason Hammel out of the pen. I’ll bunch the guys together that will definitely make the roster and put the decisions below them.
(1) Jake Arrieta
(2) Jon Lester
(3) John Lackey
(4) Kyle Hendricks
(5) Jason Hammel (R)
(6) Aroldis Chapman (L)
(7) Hector Rondon (R)
(8) Pedro Strop (R)
(9) Travis Wood (L)
These nine guys will be on the roster. Last year, the Cubs carried only 11 pitcher and 14 position players. Lets assume that Joe Maddon opts for that route again.
(10) Mike Montgomery
He’ll go with another lefty out of the pen.
(11) Joe Smith (R) -or- Justin Grimm (R) -or- CJ Edwards (R) -or- Trevor Cahill (R)
This will be a brutal decision. I assume it’s whoever looks the best down the stretch. Edwards has been lights out. Joe Smith was brought in seemingly for the postseason. When Grimm is good, he’s really good and we all know that Joe loves the ground ball including Cahill. My gut says Smith.
That covers the pitching staff. I wouldn’t be shocked if he stretches it to 12 but I’d guess we’ll be looking at 11 again.
That leaves us with 14 position players. Again, I’ll list the obvious first then we’ll get into decisions.
(12) Anthony Rizzo
(13) Ben Zobrist
(14) Addison Russell
(15) Kris Bryant
(16) Jason Heyward
(17) Dexter Fowler
(18) Jorge Soler
(19) Javier Baez
(20) Willson Contreras
(21) David Ross
Those are the guys I’m supremely confident will be on the roster. There are two guys I’ll add as almost being a sure thing. This is assuming Tommy shows up.
(22) Tommy La Stella (L)
(23) Matt Szczur (R)
I don’t think Miguel Montero will crack the roster. Contreras is only getting better behind the plate and when defense is really needed, Grandpa Ross will be around. Montero hasn’t even been that good defensively and certainly isn’t hitting the ball. This would leave two roster spots open and allow the Cubs some flexibility.
(24) Chris Coghlan (L)
This gives the Cubs another veteran left-handed bat off the bench. They’re keeping him around for a reason.
(25) Albert Almora Jr (R)
He’ll be similar to the Quintin Berry role from last year but Almora is obviously an elite defender. He can be brought in to run as well as contribute to a defensively unbelievable Almora-Fowler-Heyward outfield.
As far as position players go, no one is really left out. Unless a young guy comes up and just mashes in September, I don’t see much change here. If Joe decides to go with an extra pitcher, and he’ll have plenty of good ones available, he’ll have a tough choice to make with a position player. Below is my predicted 25 man roster if they go with 11 and 14.
Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks, Jason Hammel, Aroldis Chapman, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Travis Wood, Mike Montgomery, Joe Smith, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, Dexter Folwer, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, David Ross, Tommy La Stella, Matt Szczur, Chris Coghlan, Albert Almora Jr
As long as their health holds up, this will be a loaded 25 man heading in to the postseason. It should be fun.