Chicago Cubs Announce 32(!) Non-Roster Invites to Spring Training

Now you know Spring Training is REALLY just around the corner: the non-roster invites have been announced by the Chicago Cubs.

As a reminder, every player on the 40-man roster is already coming to big league camp. So when you don’t see a guy’s name below and you wonder where he is, pause, and remember that it’s because he’s probably already on the 40-man. That’s why these are called the “non-roster” invites. These are the guys outside the 40-man who are either getting some extra big league experience, or who are genuinely competing for a 40-man/26-man job by the end of Spring Training.

From the Cubs’ announcement, which includes a whopping THIRTY-TWO non-roster players:

The following 17 pitchers have been invited to major league camp: right-handed pitchers Nick Burdi, Danis Correa, Tyler Duffey, Jordan Holloway, Ben Leeper, Mark Leiter Jr., Nick Neidert, Vinny Nittoli, Manuel Rodríguez and Cam Sanders, as well as left-handed pitchers Ryan Borucki, Roenis Elías, Bailey Horn, Anthony Kay, Brendon Little, Brailyn Márquez and Eric Stout.

Seven infielders have been invited to major league camp: Sergio Alcántara, David Bote, Matt Mervis, Esteban Quiroz, Chase Strumpf, Andy Weber and Jared Young.

Five outfielders have been invited to major league camp: Pete Crow-Armstrong, Ben DeLuzio, Darius Hill, Yonathan Perlaza, and Mike Tauchman.

Three catchers have been invited to major league camp: Dom Nuñez, Luis Torrens and Bryce Windham.

So many immediate reactions, and I’ll probably have more …

  • Looks like we didn’t miss any of the minor league signings, as there is no one “new” in this announcement. If you are wondering about any of those guys, here are their signing posts: Duffey, Holloway, Leiter, Neidert, Nittoli, Borucki, Elias, Stout, Alcántara, DeLuzio, Tauchman, Nuñez, and Torrens. I believe any of the pitchers will have a legitimate shot at winning a big league bullpen job, depending on injuries, roster maneuverings, etc., by the way. The outfielders – especially DeLuzio because of his premium speed – are a maybe.
  • Given all the minor league deals and internal depth guys, plus the 40-man already being pretty loaded with prospects, there aren’t a ton of extra prospects coming to big league camp this year. You would call Correa, Leeper, Horn, Sanders, Mervis, Strumpf, Weber, PCA, Hill, and Perlaza the “prospect” types. Not sure any has a realistic shot at making the big league roster out of camp, but you never know, especially with the relievers. And you know the whole story with Mervis.
  • Nick Burdi was the unique minor league phase Rule 5 pick this year, who has pitched in the big leagues (2018-20 with the Pirates), and who can run it up near 100 mph. Health issues have been the question since then. That he got a big league camp invite is REALLY interesting, because it suggests he’s looked really healthy this offseason when the Cubs have had a chance to work with him.
  • Brailyn Marquez! A big league camp invite! Is he finally healthy? I still wouldn’t have much in the way of expectations, but it’d be great to see him in some Cactus League games.
  • That group of lefties, as a whole, is a really interesting part of this equation – if the Cubs don’t sign a big-time lefty on the free agent market, I would think one of those invites would have a very real chance at making the Opening Day bullpen, to pair with Brandon Hughes. And if Hughes and/or other relievers get hurt in the spring, you never know. Could be multiple.
  • The Cubs have so much depth on the infield on the 40-man that it might not matter, but you do get a sense from the invites who the Cubs see as the “next guys up if necessary.” It, too, is a really robust group – I like that Andy Weber keeps being included, though, because I still think there’s a chance at a big league bench future for him thanks to the ability to play shortstop. He just needs to stay healthy for a full season.
  • Of the infielders, though, I think it’s very fair to assume that David Bote is the main guy who’ll have a shot to win a big league job, since he’s been a useful bench player before in his career. Remember, he was bounced from the 40-man mostly because the Cubs knew no one would claim his contract – so it was kind of like a free 40-man spot.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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