We have now hit the home stretch before the 2023 MLB season kicks off. The Cubs are slowly trimming their roster down to the 26 players that will open up the year next Thursday. Most of the roster is set. There are a few question marks remaining, however.
One question has been resolved in my (and mostly everyone’s) opinion. Hayden Wesneski has done everything but officially secure the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He has gone 3-1 with a 2.12 ERA behind 22 punchouts in 17 innings pitched and a WHIP of 1.12. So lets move onto the actualy decisions to be made.
Everyone is well aware that Seiya Suzuki remains out of action due to his oblique injury but is working on coming back. Reports out of Arizona sound promising. I read one today that even mentioned a possibility of starting the season on the active roster. The issue is that he is running out of time. We are now six days away from Opening Day and I just don’t see how he will be ready to take the field next Thursday. That being said, it sounds to me like he won’t miss that much time (as long as his healing continues the way it has gone).
I discussed several options to fill his roster spot back when the injury first happened. Most of those options have been reassigned to minor league camp. Mke Tauchman’s name keeps getting brought up. I still maintain the position that I don’t want to make a cut to the 40-man roster to make him a temporary solution. He also has cooled off some since his hot start to Cactus League play.
Edwin Rios has put up better numbers than Tauchman. Rios is already on the Cubs 40-man roster so his addition to the active roster wouldn’t require a cut somewhere. He plays third base so that doesn’t exactly replace Suzuki. I will get to that, however, when I wrap this up with my ideal alignment.
Most fans agree that Christopher Morel could use some time in AAA after skipping that step last season. I like Morel. The 23-year-old plays all over the diamond. He did well prior to MLB pitchers making adjustments to him last season. Morel has been pretty decent at the plate in Cactus League play this spring. I’m not totally against him getting some time in Iowa but I am also okay with him being on the MLB roster.
My ideal alignment would be Patrick Wisdom getting a majority of the time in right field before Seiya returns. Rios and Madrigal would split time at third base. If Tauchman makes the team, it should be at the expense of Zach McKinstry or Kyle Hendricks opening the year on the 60 day IL. The relief pitchers on the 40-man shouldn’t be touched to make room for Tauchman as we will need those guys throughout the year.
Christopher Morel should also make the team before McKinstry. Even if the front office thinks Morel should see time at AAA, there is no reason he can’t start the year up on the main roster and then sent down when Seiya comes back.
Beyond those guys, the only remaining questions would be how to fill out the bullpen. Luckily, those spots can be mix and matched at different points in the season and aren’t as huge of a question mark as the last of position players on the roster. All of these questions will have answers soon. Baseball season is upon us and soon, in the words of the great Pat Hughes, Chicago Cubs baseball will be on the air.
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