As expected – but not guaranteed until today – Joe Maddon confirmed the Chicago Cubs will open the season with 13 pitchers, five starters and eight relievers (Muskat, Levine). That’s been the customary number in recent years, and with the Cubs’ persistent desire to keep starter innings limited in the early going of the season, it only makes sense to load up on relievers.
With that determination made, the extra position players – a third catcher, Peter Bourjos, Ryan Court, or Mike Freeman – will not make the opening day 25-man roster. Some may have opt outs or bonus provisions in their minor league deals that could see them let go from the Cubs in the coming days. The others will head to Iowa to open the season.
As for which eight relievers will open with the Cubs, there are still some questions there. We know six of the guys who’ll be there – Brandon Morrow, Carl Edwards Jr., Steve Cishek, Mike Montgomery, Brian Duensing, and Justin Wilson – but the other two spots depend on Pedro Strop’s health, and which of Eddie Butler, Anthony Bass, Justin Hancock, Kyle Ryan, and Shae Simmons the Cubs want to carry (Randy Rosario was sent to minor league camp today).