Here it is: the roster of 25 guys who can play in the NLDS, which starts tonight at Nationals Park against the Nationals!
The Cubs opted to go with all five of their starting pitchers (though John Lackey is, of course, not scheduled to start), six other relievers, and fourteen position players, as we’d expected they would.
Notably, on the pitching side, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm did not make the cut this time around, but each of John Lackey (somewhat expected) and Justin Wilson (less expected) did. I can’t help but wonder if the Cubs are keeping Lackey on the roster for more than just cleanup innings in a blowout or extra innings in a late-night affair. In other words, perhaps it’s also a bit of insurance if Jake Arrieta isn’t 100% when he takes the mound.
As for Wilson, well, his inclusion on the roster may not be wholly unrelated to the fact that one of the Nationals best hitters, Daniel Murphy, is 0-6 with 3Ks lifetime against him. Epstein pointed that stat out yesterday on The Score and followed through by putting him on the roster today.
On the positional side, the Cubs elected to go with just two catchers, which means no Rene Rivera. Adding Rivera was always a possibility, given the way Joe Maddon and the Cubs navigated the 2016 postseason with three catchers, but they’re going a more traditional route this year. In his place (sorta), Leonys Martin gets the nod as a late-inning defensive replacement, base stealer, and pinch runner.
All things considered, I like it.
Carl Edwards Jr.
Position Players (14):
Tommy La Stella
Albert Almora Jr.