Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

There was a flurry of activity in the last couple hours (and there could/will still be more movement, at least on the 40-man roster), including the addition of another infielder (Luis Valbuena), but the Cubs now have the 25-man roster with which they’ll open the season. Probably.

The Cubs have elected to go with just 11 pitchers to start the year, in large part because of the off-day on Friday. Given that extra rest, the Cubs think they can without a long-man in the pen, so Rodrigo Lopez will start the year at AAA and will recalled soon, according to Jed Hoyer.

Those 11 pitchers are Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, and Paul Maholm in the rotation, and Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, James Russell, Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo, and Rafael Dolis in the bullpen. That means Manny Corpas, together with Lopez, did not make the cut. Castillo is a Rule 5 pick, and will have to remain on the Cubs’ 25-man roster for this season if the Cubs are to keep him (or, at least 90 days, if he heads to the disabled list). Corpas was effective this Spring, but the Cubs apparently preferred to keep Camp and Castillo, which is tough to argue, all things considered.

With 11 pitchers, that means the Cubs will be able to carry 14 position players (so Valbuena’s addition won’t bump anyone off the roster, at least not until Lopez is recalled): Geovany Soto, Bryan LaHair, Darwin Barney, Ian Stewart, Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, David DeJesus, Jeff Baker, Steve Clevenger, Blake DeWitt, Reed Johnson, Joe Mather, and Luis Valbuena.

In a twist, Tony Campana actually came to Chicago with the Cubs, apparently on the chance that Bryan LaHair has to open the year on the disabled list with his back issues (Dale Sveum calls LaHair 50/50 for Opening Day). If LaHair is DL’d, Campana will be on the roster, while a combination of Baker, DeWitt, and Mather fill in at first base.

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