Chicago Cubs 2015 Roster Preview and Breakdown


As we move closer to February, and pitchers and catchers report in just about one month, I want to take a look at the Chicago Cubs’ current roster construction to determine where they stand.

Guaranteed Roster Spots

SP Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks
RP Hector Rondon, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, Jason Motte, Justin Grimm

C David Ross, Miguel Montero
IF Anthony Rizzo, Tommy LaStella, Starlin Castro, Luis Valbuena

OF Chris Coghlan, Chris Denorfia, Jorge Soler

That is 18 of the 25 roster spots on players that should absolutely be on the roster on opening day.

More from Chicago Cubs

Likely Roster Spots

These players will likely be on the 25-man roster, but could see time in the minor leagues to start the season.

2B/SS Javier Baez- If all the rumbling is true that the Cubs are looking for a regular outfielder, that could spell Arismendy Alcantara being sent into a utility role and taking 2B while Baez works on his swing in Iowa.

CF/2B/SS Arismendy Alcantara- Alternatively, the Cubs could send down Alcantara if they sign an outfielder and leave Baez up, although that strikes me as a less attractive option given Baez’s significant struggles and Alcantara’s positional versatility.

LHP Tsuyoshi Wada- The lefty will fight for a spot in the rotation after a successful stateside debut in which he posted a 3.25 ERA/3.75 FIP/3.96 xFIP, which is solid for a back-of-the-rotation pitcher.  He could also end up being an option for the bullpen.  The Cubs inked Wada to a one-year, $4 million deal this off-season.

LHP Travis Wood- Wood will also be fighting for a rotation spot after a dismal 2014.  The Cubs could have non-tendered the lefty if they wanted to open up his spot, but instead settled to a one-year, $5.685 million deal avoiding arbitration.  He could end up in either the pen or the rotation, but he’ll almost certainly be on the roster.

LHP Zac Rosscup/Joe Ortiz- Someone will have to take the place of Wesley Wright and/or James Russell in the Cubs’ bullpen, and I see these guys as two very likely candidates.  All of this could change if Wada or Travis Wood end up working from the bullpen, but for now it appears that either Rosscup or Ortiz could be left-handed specialists for the Cubs in 2015.

Fighting for a Spot

RHP Edwin Jackson- Jackson’s struggles as a Cub are well documented.  However, he has worked with Miguel Montero before, and the front office may want to see what he can do out of the bullpen.  However, I see no chance of him cracking the starting rotation.

RHP Jacob Turner- Turner was claimed by the Cubs off waivers from the Marlins in the summer of 2014.  He is out of options, and therefore can’t be sent down without passing through waivers, and is another project for pitching coach Chris Bosio.  However, given the recent “win now” signings, they may find that they don’t have time to keep him on the 25-man roster.

More from Da Windy City

On the Way Out

C Welington Castillo- After the acquisitions of David Ross and Montero, it has become obvious that Castillo’s days in Chicago are over.


3B Kris Bryant- Everybody knows Bryant, and everybody knows he’ll be in Chicago in 2015.  The question is when.  A good bet would be late April, but whether he’ll stick at 3B or play in the outfield is another question.  My bet is that he’ll stay at third, especially if the Cubs sign another regular outfielder.

SS Addison Russell- Russell is another top prospect that could see time in Chicago in 2015.  After his acquisition in the Jeff Samardzija trade, Russell tore up the Southern League in 205 plate appearances with a .388 wOBA and 141 wRC+ and an acceptable 17.1% strikeout rate.  He could very well start 2015 in Iowa, and reach Chicago by midseason.

Question Marks

Some of the question marks heading into 2015 include OFs Junior Lake and Ryan Sweeney, IF Mike Olt, and LHP Felix Doubront. Based on this off-season and the direction of the organization, it is hard to say where these guys end up.

Current Areas of Need

Outfield; Back of the rotation (likely to be filled from within the organization)


1) If the Cubs acquire another regular outfielder, either Baez or Alcantara will start the year in Iowa.  My guess would be Baez.  If they don’t add another outfielder, I think they will both make the roster.

2) Bryant will play 3B (as opposed to outfield) in Chicago, and a guy like Mike Olt could keep the spot on the 25-man roster until Bryant is promoted the majors.

3) The Cubs are likely done adding to the bullpen, and the last couple spots in the bullpen will come from Turner/Wada/Wood/Jackson/Doubront/Schlitter/Rosscup/Ortiz/Blake Parker.

4) CJ Edwards could reach the big leagues in 2015 as well, though he would likely see that time as a reliever, especially after his troubling shoulder issues in 2014.