Cubs set Opening Day 30-man roster


40-Man Roster Moves

Added to 40-Man: LHRP Rex Brothers, C Josh Phegley

DFA: UT Robel Garcia

To 45-Day IL: UT Daniel Descalso

Opted Out of Playing in 2020: OF Mark Zagunis

The Robel Garcia story was a lot of fun while it lasted. I’m unclear at this writing if Garcia has actually cleared waivers or not, so he could still remain with the Cubs in South Bend this season.

The twisted ankle suffered by Daniel Descalso in the Cubs final exhibition game saved the Cubs from having to waive him. They needed the roster spot and the addition of Jason Kipnis rendered Descalso’s skillset redundant on the MLB roster. I honestly don’t expect to see him play in a MLB game this year.

In the grand scheme of things, the $5M the Cubs guaranteed Descalso when they inked him prior to last season hardly ranks among the franchise’s long history of free agent busts. But the fact he was sold as an upgrade to a popular  and less expensive player (Tommy La Stella), and then subsequently fell flat on his face while the guy he replaced immediately earned an All-Star berth will go down as one of the highest profile in a recent string of missteps by the front office. Not only was Descalso a complete bust, but the Cubs doubled down on the misevaluation when the pitcher they acquired in exchange for La Stella never threw a pitch for the Cubs at any level.

Talent drains, both large and small, in trades and free agency became all too frequent beginning in the offseason following the 2016 World Series Championship. It was a stunning turnaround after the majority of the moves the front office made in the rebuild and the push toward building the championship roster netted the organization positive growth. Those failures led to the front office and coaching staff shakeups we’ve seen the past two offseasons as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer search for answers.

Despite lacking financial means to make dramatic roster moves I have been impressed by the bargaining shopping the front office did this offseason. It gives me hope Theo and Jed have rediscovered their touch. They’ve completely rebuilt the bullpen since the start of last season while also building a more balanced offense. The biggest question marks for this team figure to reside in the starting rotation. An injury to Jose Quintana has only deepened the concerns. With that in mind, lets begin there as we walk through the Cubs Opening Day roster…


Starting Pitchers (5)

  1. Kyle Hendricks
  2. Yu Darvish
  3.  Tyler Chatwood
  4. Jon Lester
  5. Alec Mills

10-IL (1): Jose Quintana

Bullpen (11)

RHRP – 8

  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Jeremy Jeffress
  • Rowan Wick
  • Casey Sadler
  • James Norwood
  • Dan Winkler
  • Dillon Maples
  • Duane Underwood Jr.

LHRP – 3

  • Kyle Ryan
  • Brad Wieck
  • Rex Brothers

Catchers (3)

  • Willson Contreras (R)
  • Victor Caratini (S)
  • Josh Phegley (R)

Infielders (6)

  • Anthony Rizzo (L)
  • Nico Hoerner (R)
  • Kris Bryant (R)
  • Javier Baez (R)
  • David Bote (R)
  • Jason Kipnis (L)

45-IL: UT Daniel Descalso

Outfielders (5)

  • Kyle Schwarber (L)
  • Ian Happ (S)
  • Jason Heyward (L)
  • Albert Almora Jr. (R)
  • Steven Souza Jr. (R)

Optioned (25)

40-Man Roster Players – 7

  • SP Colin Rea (R)
  • SP Adbert Alzolay (R)
  • SP Tyson Miller (R)
  • SP Justin Steele (L)
  • RP Jharel Cotton (R)
  • RP Ryan Tepera (R)
  • C Miguel Amaya (R)

Non-Roster Players – 17

  • SP Cory Abbott (R)
  • SP Keegan Thompson (R)
  • SP Jack Patterson (L)
  • SP Brailyn Marquez (L)
  • RP Trevor Megill (R)
  • RP Jason Adam (R)
  • RP Dakota Mekkes (R)
  • RP Michael Rucker (R)
  • RP Juan Gamez (R)
  • RP Danny Hultzen (L)
  • RP Burl Carraway (L)
  • C Jose Lobaton (S)
  • C/UT P.J. Higgins (R)
  • UT Hernan Perez (R)
  • UT Robel Garcia (S) *may still need to clear waivers
  • 3B Christopher Morel (R)
  • OF Ian Miller (S)
  • OF Brennan Davis (R)

40-Man Roster players not among 60-Man Player Pool (2)

  • RP Manuel Rodriguez (R)
  • IF Zack Short (R)


Leave a comment
  • Good to see at least a few drafted pitchers starting to make appearances on the regular roster - if only in the bullpen. Norwood, Maples and Underwood - welcome to the roster!

  • I'm glad to see Kipnis on the roster. Local guys are always nice to have on the team.

  • Bryant
    Caratini (DH)

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    You look at that and it makes you wonder why they don’t put up at least 6 runs a game .

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    But then you look at the entirety of the staff and wonder if they give up 7.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Some days, sure. Other days you
    look at it and think, “15 strikeouts today?”

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    Yep, good pitching can quickly over match good hitting. Likewise, good hitters punish mediocre pitching.

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    So true

  • Comcast has Marquee on channel 084 Now.


  • I have no idea how I feel about this bizarre season. Predictions are useless because there is no data to support them. This looks like decent team, not a great one, but what does that mean over 60 games? I have no idea but here we go. Play ball!

  • In reply to TC154:

    Well, least we can watch it on channel 202 here in NWI. Good to hear from you.

  • In reply to TC154:

    It means any team can win it. How many times have we seen a team at the bottom of the standings in September,that was in first place at the end of 60 games. Everybody is rested. Hot team wins it all. Boss Ross said best "If they are handing out a trophy. I want it!!!

  • In reply to TC154:

    Nice to hear from you, TC! I hope you are doing well.

    I've described this season as a wild-west shootout, with the possibility of an unexpected white flag at any moment.

    There was news yesterday on negotiations surrounding the structure of postseason play. Details were still being worked out, but the thought is a 16-team postseason, 8 from each league. The top 2 teams from each division are in, with the 7th and 8th seeds determined by the best records remaining. This is being discussed as "only" for this year, but like so many other "temporary" changes, I see this expansion being difficult to roll back.

    This is truly a season unlike any we have ever seen or even imagined.

  • In reply to Mike Pilbean:

    BP - Your peanut shell invoice is in the mail.


  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I had to think about that one for a couple minutes. I can't believe you remember that! :)

    Cubs Den contributor Sean Holland asked a question on Twitter yesterday: "What are the chances Descalso fouls a ball of his leg in his final batting practice session to land on the IL and open up a 40-man roster spot?". I replied about as likely as Jeffrey Epstein committing "suicide" in jail.

  • In reply to Mike Pilbean:

    Funny that I can't remember what I had for breakfast 3 hours ago, yet I remember your jest about Descalso injurying his ankle on peanut shells in the Cubs dugout when he went on the IL last August.


  • In reply to Mike Pilbean:

    I’m doing well, considering. Happy to have baseball back even with as odd a season as this will be.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Glad to hear it.

    Play Ball!

  • In reply to TC154:

    Nice to see you posting again TC and I hope your in good health. I admit being less optimistic about this roster then I have been in recent years. Having Chatwood/Alec Mills as our #4-5, in addition to a bullpen of question marks tend to do that to me. But the cubs have seemingly played pretty good baseball in the 1st half of the season these past 2 years, only to falter a bit down the stretch during the long, physical grind of the season. My hope is the shortened season allows the teams best players to carry a bigger workload, as they won’t have to worry about playing 150 games. I have my questions on whether this roster is deep enough, but depth factors less in a short season. That said there are still a lot of good players on this team. With Mlb now implementing an 8 man playoff I see no reason why the cubs shouldn’t be in the mix for one of those spots. Looking forward to just being able to sit at home, and watch sports again myself.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Actually, the Cubs stumbled out of the gate last year, starting 1-6 and not getting above .500 level for good until the 21st game. (I remember BP guaranteeing that the Cubs would not again go below .500 that day) Hendricks and Darvish both started 1-3, the bullpen (Edwards, Strop, and Cishek) blew 3 of the first 4 games, and Rizzo's back was acting up. The only bright spot was Hamels who started out 3-0.

    And In 2018, it took 17 games for the Cubs to get above .500 for good.

    Obviously, it's impossible to compare the David Ross spring training camp to Joe Madden's, but by all accounts Boss Ross has held the players more accountable.

    Anyway, Play ball! and Go Cubs!

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    You're right the cubs didn't start well over the 1st 10 games, and you're correct that they had a lot of blown saves early on. Agreed on some of the starters starting out slowly also. But the cubs were in 1st place for the majority of the 1st half of the season after a bit of a rocky start. They added Kimbrel and Castellanos because they were the clear NL Central favorite around June/July, according to projections/vegas odds. They had a rough final 2 months with a combination of Baez, Rizzo, Lester, Bryant, Hamels, Kimbrel being hampered by injuries to various degrees. But they were on pace for around 90 wins at the midpoint, and it's unfortunate that they never pulled away from the others earlier when they had their chances.

    Like you I do think these players will respond well to Ross's managing style. I just hope that he has the horses to compete, as this isn't the deepest roster the cubs have had in recent years (esp on the pitching side). But I do expect he'll collaborate with the front office/analytics guys better then Maddon, whose a celebrity type manager that is going to do things his own way. I think we'll see the cubs start to follow the model of the Dodgers/Yankees/Red Sox, who have all hired more younger managers like Ross. But for me I'm just excited as a die hard fan to be able to regularly follow the team. MLB has expanded to a 16 team playoff and I think that should give us the expectations that the cubs should still be in the mix for a playoff spot. Hopefully they're in a position where they can add talent at the deadline if the team is playing well.

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