The Chicago Cubs’ spring training officially ended on Tuesday afternoon as they went through the motions with a couple tune up games against the Boston Red Sox. Now they’ll drive down the road to Miami where they will open the season against the Marlins on Thursday. I did hear from the Red Sox broadcast team that some people actually paid around $500 for tickets to the exhibition games at the Red Sox’s spring complex, which is kind of insane, but hey, it’s their money.
This is going to be the first time I can actually remember every team starting their season on the same day:
Sure as hell looks like a holiday to me. pic.twitter.com/59w4dQ7KvN
— middle-management jeezey (@jjrayn) March 27, 2018
It’s kind of interesting that the Cubs and Marlins are the first game of Opening Day, and luckily for me, it’s spring break, so I can actually watch it. I know of a few fellow Cubs fans who will unfortunately have to sneak in their peeks during work. But having an entire day devoted to baseball sounds dreamy. Most teams, including the Cubs, have their Opening Day starters set up, and I guess we’re just waiting on the Rockies to figure out who they want to take the ball first:
— Cut4 (@Cut4) March 27, 2018
As I noted earlier, I believe that Victor Caratini was picked over Chris Gimenez to maximize roster flexibility at this time in case the Cubs want to claim somebody or make a trade that requires the use of a 40-man roster spot. There are still two spots open on the roster, so those could be used in any number of ways.
UPDATE 4:05 PM: Make that three open spots after this:
Today, the Dodgers claimed RHP Cory Mazzoni from the Cubs. Mazzoni will be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
To create room on the 40-man roster, Trayce Thompson has been designated for assignment.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 27, 2018
For the time being, I believe they will be left alone as I don’t think the Cubs will flip flop and add Gimenez to the roster, and while they could claim another intriguing reliever, I don’t see how they could crack the bullpen as it is currently constructed.
In the last exhibition game of the preseason, Pedro Strop did pitch and looked good doing so, which leads me to believe that he will be ready for Opening Day. That leaves one spot to contend with, and I believe that Eddie Butler will get it as he is out of options and I don’t think the Cubs want to lose him to waivers at this time. So until we get an official update, I’m going to list the projected 25-man roster that will start us off on another run at a pennant and the World Series championship.
- Willson Contreras (starter)
- Victor Caratini (backup)
- Anthony Rizzo (starting first baseman, duh)
- Javier Baez (starting second baseman)
- Addison Russell (starting shortstop)
- Kris Bryant (starting third baseman)
- Ben Zobrist (utility)
- Tommy La Stella (backup second and third base)
- Kyle Schwarber (starting left field)
- Ian Happ (starting center field)
- Jason Heyward (starting right field)
- Albert Almora Jr. (backup)
Starting Rotation (5):
- Mike Montgomery
- Eddie Butler
- Pedro Strop
- Steve Cishek
- Brian Duensing
- Justin Wilson
- Carl Edwards Jr
- Brandon Morrow
The Cubs get their first crack against Marlins starter Jose Ureña, who doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opponents. The Marlins lineup is also a stripped down version from years past after shipping out everyone who was borderline useful on a major league roster, so one would hope that Jon Lester would have a relatively easier time in his first start. At least I hope the Marlins don’t have to test out their home run machine (although they didn’t fire it up during their exhibition game, not sure why), unless it goes off by accident when Kris Bryant kills a baseball.
You can listen to our recent Dreamcast for more lineup construction ideas, and I’ll update this when Joe Maddon puts out his official lineup (as well as official roster moves). Here’s my Opening Day lineup against the righty Ureña:
- CF Happ
- 3B Bryant
- 1B Rizzo
- C Contreras
- LF Schwarber
- SS Russell
- RF Heyward
- 2B Baez
- P Lester
Thought about playing with the pitcher batting eighth, but I haven’t seen Maddon do that in a long time, plus Lester is expected to go further into games anyway. Catch you guys again on Opening Day unless something crazy happens in baseball news!
UPDATE 3/29 10:38 AM: Not only is our lineup spot on, so is the roster:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 29, 2018
Won’t be long now. See you on the internet as we watch the game.