A new week is here, and with it a new Cubs roster. I thought it worth a quick reset after the flurry of trades and other roster moves last week.
There’s not a lot of change here, actually, since only Trevor Williams was dealt. Jake Arrieta returned to the rotation in Williams’ spot, so it is currently “full”: Hendricks, Alzolay, Davies, Mills, Arrieta. From here, though, we expect Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson to get starts in the second half, one way or another.
I look forward to those two youngsters getting starts, and also to Alzolay and Mills continuing to get work. I’m not sure what ultimately happens with Arrieta, or why the Cubs hung onto Davies, but eventually you might see guys shut down for various reasons. Indeed, Alzolay might eventually hit something of an innings cap.
With the back-end trio of Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin, and Ryan Tepera out the door, you can pretty much throw all roles away and just expect to see whoever pitching whenever. New righty Codi Heuer is going to get late innings, as is prospect call-up Manny Rodriguez. But, I mean, Kyle Ryan got a save the other day, so …
The full group for now is Heuer, Rodriguez, Ryan, Rex Brothers, Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Adam Morgan, Michael Rucker, and Dan Winkler. Heuer is perhaps the only guy in the group who is a near lock to return next year, with all of Rodriguez, Jewell, Megill, and Rucker being younger-ish guys who are trying to show out.
Meanwhile, Rowan Wick continues to rehab at Iowa, and when he’s ready to return, he comes up probably to audition as the 2022 closer. Dillon Maples is back on the IL (blister), and who knows if/when he’ll be back.
No changes here, as it’s Willson Contreras and Robinson Chirinos. Hopefully Contreras gets a lot more rest days now, though.
If you counted Kris Bryant at third base, then the entire starting infield went poof last week. Nico Hoerner wasn’t traded, but he hit the injured list with an oblique strain that could keep him out for a while. The rostered group at the moment is Sergio Alcantara, David Bote, Matt Duffy, Andrew Romine, Frank Schwindel, and Patrick Wisdom.
As we’ve seen, Wisdom is going to keep getting starts at first base – because the Cubs want to evaluate/develop that bat – and that will leave third base open for Duffy and/or Bote. While Hoerner is out, Bote might get more run at second base, though, with Alcantara starting most days at shortstop. Romine is a veteran utility man, who might still play a lot because David Ross wants to win and Romine is hitting a bit. Schwindel is a big power bat who has hit at Triple-A, but hasn’t had a shot in the bigs. If it weren’t for Wisdom, he might be starting at first base right now.
Rafael Ortega!!! Just keep on doing your thing, man, and we’ll see where things stand at the end of the year as far as reasonable projections for 2022 go.
Meanwhile, Ian Happ and Jason Heyward get another couple months to try to salvage their disastrous seasons, and Johneshwy Fargas gets a chance to show his value as a reserve outfielder.