The Chicago Cubs will be home for the majority of the remainder of the 2018 season, which on the surface should be good for them to secure another NL Central division title. The recent trade for Daniel Murphy reminded me of when they traded for Aroldis Chapman for the stretch run, which brings to mind the thoughts I had about character and morality and such. I suppose in a way it’s nice to think that it was Mike Montgomery on the mound for the final out, so that memory is the one that sticks rather than another that could engender mixed feelings. It doesn’t make it easy to root for the laundry when there are some questionable people wearing said laundry, but I’ll let these folks handle the topic with better articulation than I while I move on to the roster…
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) August 22, 2018
This thread by very cool Twitter guy Brandon McCarthy is well done, too:
Tribalism in sports, when it comes to protecting the wrongdoings of their own, is strange because fans know that it doesn't have to be that way. They do the opposite all the time.
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) August 23, 2018
And if you’re still with me, now let’s talk about the Cubs roster when the September expansion arrives. Putting aside the off-field opinions/actions/controversies with Murphy and Addison Russell, these guys are wearing the laundry until they’re not, and we have to deal with it.
There are currently 43 names on the 40-man roster, and three guys (Yu Darvish, Justin Hancock, Drew Smyly) are on the 60-day disabled list so they don’t count. Adbert Alzolay is injured, but he needs to stay on the roster because he’s basically the Cubs’ top prospect and they cannot 60-day him as that makes him eligible for MLB service time (labor issues are a story for another day). We know Yu is done for the year after his MRI turned up a stress reaction, and I have no idea what’s up with Hancock. Smyly has been making progress and is likely to be of some use come September when he builds up his strength, so there’s something to look forward to. Given that Smyly is likely to be activated when rosters expand, that means there will be 41 players for 40 spots (one taken up by Alzolay that the Cubs can’t do anything about), so I assume at some point the Cubs will try to sneak one of the fringe relievers like Cory Mazzoni through waivers to outright them off the roster and make room.
However, there is a little over a week left until the waiver trade deadline on August 31, and my guess is that the Cubs will try to add still. While I believe they are pretty set in the bullpen at this point, they may try to get another starting pitcher since Mike Montgomery is still on the shelf for now and Tyler Chatwood still can’t find the strike zone. Another potential need is a backup catcher, as we know how terrible Chris Gimenez was in his brief time on the roster, and Victor Caratini hasn’t been able to establish himself in his occasional opportunities. That might again mean another couple of waiver sneaks to make room for new additions that could still remain postseason eligible. And that still doesn’t take into account Terrence Gore, who was brought in most likely as a designated pinch runner in key spots for September and the postseason.
The Cubs are likely to bring back closer Brandon Morrow and reliever Brian Duensing off the disabled list in September once they are ready to go. Montgomery will come back as well, as will infielders Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. There are a lot of useful relievers waiting in the wings once the Iowa season concludes, so September looks to be a very full house to improve depth and give guys more rest before the postseason. It will be more clear towards the waiver deadline which guys actually stick on the roster after we determine if some new Cubs will need a warm welcome.