Cubs Set Opening Day Roster

Baring a trade or an addition from outside of the organization, the front office and coaching staff has finalized the Cubs first roster of the 2014 season.

With the addition of Brian Schlitter on Saturday, the Cubs finalized the seven-man bullpen. Jose Veras will close out games with Pedro Strop beginning the season as the eighth inning man. James Russell will have company in fellow lefty Wesley Wright. And Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm and Brian Schlitter will start the season as the middle-men in the pen. Once Jake Arrieta is ready to pitch, Carlos Villanueva will be shifted to the pen, but for now he will start the season in the rotation.

Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel and Travis Wood begin the season as the first four starters. The order of the staff will change as the Cubs are committed to Samardzija, Jackson and Wood staying on a five-day routine. Villanueva is not scheduled to pitch until the sixth game of the season and will be available out of the pen during the Pirates series.

Welington Castillo and John Baker begin the season as the Cubs’ backstops with Emilio Bonifacio serving as the team’s utility man. Bonifacio figures to receive a lot of playing time at multiple positions as long as he is with the team.

The infield will start out with Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Mike Olt from first to third with Luis Valbuena receiving playing time at second and third base. Bonifacio will also see time at second, short and third base. Mike Olt could also see time at first base to give Rizzo a break against southpaws.

In the outfield, the Cubs start the season with Junior Lake, Nate Schierholtz, Ryan Sweeney, Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Kalish. Emilio Bonifacio will see time in center and in left field. Lake is expected to see a lot of playing time with Ruggiano getting at bats against lefties.

The Cubs open the year on Monday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh with Jeff Samardzija taking on Francisco Liriano and the Pirates.

The Opening Day roster has different pieces than the team that faced the Pirates last year for the first game of the year.

Cubs 2014 Opening Day Roster

* 2013 Opening Day Roster

Pitchers

Starting Rotation

  • Jeff Samardzija *
  • Edwin Jackson *
  • Jason Hammel
  • Travis Wood *
  • Carlos Villanueva *

Bullpen

  • Jose Veras
  • Pedro Strop
  • James Russell *
  • Wesley Wright
  • Hector Rondon *
  • Justin Grimm
  • Brian Schlitter
Catchers
  • Welington Castillo *
  • John Baker
Infielders
  • Anthony Rizzo *
  • Darwin Barney *
  • Starlin Castro *
  • Mike Olt
  • Luis Valbuena *
  • Emilio Bonifacio
Outfielders
  • Junior Lake
  • Ryan Sweeney
  • Nate Schierholtz *
  • Justin Ruggiano
  • Ryan Kalish

The Cubs still have to add Emilio Bonifacio, John Baker and Ryan Kalish to the 40-man roster. Before those three players can be added, Kyuji Fujikawa will have to be placed on the 60-day DL. The Cubs 40-man roster will stand at 40 players once the trio is added. The Cubs will place Jake Arrieta on the 15-day and have not announced which disabled list James McDonald will start the season on.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey Stengel 

Share on Fancred
  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Exciting! Here’s a lineup I like…

    Bonifacio – 2 base
    Kalish – LF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Olt – 3B
    Lake – CF
    Schierholtz – RF
    Castillo – C

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      No real consideration of lefty/righty. Just the best 8 hitters I believe. I would probably actually prefer Ruggiano to Schierholtz but this gives him a chance to play since teams have interest in him and hopefully by June he can be playing somewhere else and we have a few more prospects.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You and I may like that lineup, but Kalish and Bonifascio figures to be bench players. Ruggiano is going to start, and of course, the Barney Plan is going to continue. Ugh!

      • Tony_H

        I think at the beginning Kalish and Bonifacio will be considered bench players, but I expect a lot of mix and match lineups to start the year and if both continue to get on base, as good table setters do, they will both sit on top of the lineup soon enough.

        I don’t see Ruggiano being an everyday starter now that Bonifacio and Kalish have shown they need to get AB’s, unless they trade Schierholtz or Sweeney away soon.

        I think Barney will lose AB’s against RH’s, especially where his numbers are awful in the match-up.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I’d start Valbuena over Barney vs RHP. At least he can take a walk.

          • Tony_H

            I think Bonifacio will get the starts at 2B when they sit Barney. Valbuena should settle into his role as backup infielder just fine.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Which Bonifacio shows up?
            The one that hits .200, or the one that hits .285 and steals a few bases?

          • Tony_H

            That will determine his playing time, that is for sure. But the 200 one was injured. When healthy, he has been a productive player.

          • Tony_H

            Bonifacio is not a full time regular starter in his age 29 season. If they give him a day or two off each week and mix and match his starts well, he will be a productive player.

          • mutantbeast

            You need Bonafacio for those days in April where the wind is blowing in and are likley to be low scoring. Ill take Valbuenna for a warm June day with a jet stream blowing out to all fields.

          • SuzyS

            Barney in ST. 47 ab/ 9 BB = a 19% walk rate.
            Overall….277BA/.393 OBP/.404 SLG/.797 OPS.

            If he can continue close to that pace at the mlb level…I’d call that pretty productive.

            And yes…the disclaimer is that it was ST and a small sample size…But I think Barney will have a decent season, (for him)…until they find another team for him…when Baez/Alcantra come up.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Me too. But Bonifacio over either…

          • mutantbeast

            And does show occasional power.

    • Tony_H

      I think we will see that mix of players quite often.

  • Pingback: Cubs Set Opening Day Roster - Cubs Chronicles()

  • Tony_H

    Only 12 players left from last years Opening Day and of those 12, only Castro, Rizzo, Castillo and Wood do I expect to be on the roster by July 31st for sure. Yes the roster has turned over quite a bit and will continue to turn over and keep getting younger.

  • Ripsnorter1

    No one on the CCO is talking about Miggy Cabrera’s oversized paycheck. There’s a firestorm out there over what Mr. David Dombrowski paid the 31 year old hit machine. He’s getting paid more than Albert Pujols.

    I have to admit, it’s a real head scratcher. In fact, that GM Dombrowski, made several head scratching moves his past offseason. He dealt away Prince Fielder for not much (he even tossed in $30 million!). He nearly gave away Doug Fister.
    Biggest move he made was sign Joba Chamberlain.

    And the biggest head scratcher of all: he didn’t trade for Darwin Barney! Or Schierholtz.

    LOL

    I predict: the Tigers do not win the division in 2014.

    • Tony_H

      I posted an article talking about it the other day. Here it is again.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/miguel-cabreras-terrible-and-understandable-contract/

      What I didn’t get with trading Fielder for Ian Kinsler and getting back all that money that was going to go to an aging Fielder, he turned around and gave a whole bunch more to an aging Cabrera. Cabrera was 2 years from FA and they could have done this deal next spring, and could have done it for 4-5 years, even if the AAV needed to be higher, it would have been cheaper then the amount of money that will be considered bad on this deal.

    • SuzyS

      Miggy’s contract is ludicrous. Illitch’s legacy fund. The problem is that contract’s like that just give Boras and Company more fuel to continue the insanity.
      It impacts the Cubs very little right now…but in the future…those type of contracts will make it impossible to keep a core group together for more than 5 or 6 years at a time.
      Heck, and I screamed when Soriano signed his eight year contract…that it was too long and did not make “baseball sense”.
      While I’m not hopeful, baseball has to stop this nonsense of paying huge $$$ to someone that will obviously be well past their prime at the end of the contract.

      • DWalker

        For a smart FO with a well stocked farm system though, it actually isn’t such a bad thing. It gives way more motivation to bring kids up through the system then worry about hanging on to the hero who is now asking the big bucks. Cardinals and Pujols is the perfect example. A team like the cardinals just keeps cycling young talent in and keeping their costs down while other teams take their hero 30 year olds with huge salaries and 8 year contracts. a couple of years down the line, one team is laughing, the other teams has buyers regret.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Like Theo or not. Contracts like this will never happen during his tenure with the Cubs.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Edwin Jackson.

            Never say “never.”

      • mutantbeast

        the 8 years is what ruined Soris contract. Personally, no one in there right mind gives any 30plus player more than a 4 year contract. Im on record right now, for example, of seeing if the Cubs can sign Shileds(rather than Scherzer) next year to a 4 yr/70m or so contract, since hes 34 and doesnt have that many years left. The Trou deal makes sense because of his age. The Miggy and Cano deals are ridicoulous.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I don’t see the Tigers winning the AL Central either. I see KC there.

      • cubtex

        You could be right about KC. If Ventura hits the ground running with Shields they have some excellent starting pitching.

        Eleven Top 100 prospects are opening the season on MLB rosters, including #RedSox @XanderBogaerts: http://atmilb.com/1gEMXxD

        • TheWrongGuy

          They also have K. Zimmer TOR pitching prospect waiting in the wings at AA this season. He might be up mid-season.

          • cubtex

            Looking at that link I posted….Erik Johnson from the White Sox made their rotation. Many people get so caught up with farm system rankings but look at the pitching the White Sox continue to bring up each and every year who we never hear about. Hector Santiago(30th round draft pick) gets traded for Adam Eaton, Addison Reed for Davidson. The White Sox are always ranked low but continue to bring up prospects.

          • SuzyS

            Yep, their back-up catcher is Nieto they brought up from A ball. Not sure that is wise…but will be interesting to watch.

          • cubtex

            wasn’t he a rule 5 guy?

          • SuzyS
          • Tony_H

            Yes sir, you can get good MLB level pitchers from outside the top prospects and rankings.

          • Ripsnorter1

            They have an excellent pitching coach in Cooper. He’s the best now that Duncan is retired.

          • SuzyS

            Actually, I’d like to see KC have that kind of season. They havn’t been a factor since the George Brett/White days.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I don’t think signing a 12 year contract for a 31 year old is smart but Miggy is going to be one of the all time great hitters. Shoot, what he’s done already is incredible. Led ST in hits this year to. The guy is just a hit machine. He has an understanding of pitchers and of his own swing similar to that of Ted Williams. If his contract is heavily front loaded it would make more sense. He can be a productive DH until he’s in his 40’s like a Paul Molitor.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        He definitely belongs as the highest paid position player in the league. And with his size, he should be atrong enough to hit for 10 more years. He will shrink a bit as he ages but he’s just a natural hitter. One of the best ever.

    • mutantbeast

      Miggy has no protection anymore. Remember Barry Bonds, circa 2002? Welcome to that Mr Cabrera. the new mr intentional walk.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Why, yes, I do remember!

        I think Tigers finish out of the money in 2014.

  • Pingback: FEATURED ARTICLE: Cubs Set Opening Day Roster | Chicago Cubs Dugout Online | Chicago Cubs Blog()

  • Ripsnorter1

    UGH!!

    Ian Stewart made the LA Angels roster!

    Whatdoyathink? Is he going to platoon with Albert Pujols at 1B?

    • Tony_H

      Think David Freese, he has never played a full season. We think of him for his post season heroics, but regular season, he can’t stay on the field.

      2013 – 462 AB’s
      2012 – 501 AB’s
      2011 – 333 AB’s
      2010 – 240 AB’s

    • SuzyS

      Re: Stewart and the Miggy contract…just shows that baseball FO are not always the smartest birds in the nest.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Will Olt be the starter at 3B, or do you think the Cubs will platoon him with Valbuena? GW tweeted that he will share time with Valbuena. I thought he was going to be the everyday starter. What thinkest thou?

    • SuzyS

      “What thinkest thou?”…are you on the way to church? :-)…Olt should get as many abs as possible…to settle in.

    • Tony_H

      Yes, Olt will be the starter, but I would expect a day off or sometimes 2 a week. He will get a start at 1B against the elite LH’s, who they will use to give Rizzo a day off and then I expect Bonifacio to play 3B. He will get days off completely, against the elite RH’s and Valbuena will play.

      I don’t expect to see a starting 8 lineup that is run out there everyday. Match-ups, L/R, and whose hot will determine playing time.

      • TheWrongGuy

        Agree’d.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I agree too. Valbuena will play gainst the best RH pitchers. Best for Olt’s confidence.

  • SuzyS

    For the Cubs…it really doesn’t matter what the team looks like at the beginning of the season…as much as it does at the end of the season.
    The Cubs have created fan interest in bringing in Olt, Kalish, Bonificio…not to mention the progression of Lake, Barney ,Rizzo, Castillo…et al.But the net result is it is still a transition year.
    We’re all expecting a lot of trade activity…not blockbusters…but trades that might shape the team for next year…like catching prospects etc.
    Re Shark…if they can’t get a TOR prospect back…they might just keep him the next 2 seasons on a year to year…and then offer him arb for the third season. I’m thinking if he’s ok going year to year and he really wants to be a Cub…he won’t want to leave just when the Cubs are about to explode.
    What if EJAX finally put’s it together and has a season that matches his stuff??? Do you trade him and his suddenly attractive $11 mil per season contract??? Or keep him…with the thought that he’s comfortable and producing to his talent level…with his first multi-year contract?
    We’re definitely getting closer…and it’s going to get exciting in the next few years…If the Cubs finally break ground on the stadium renovations this year…that will tell us we are World Series bound….GO CUBS!

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Totally agree. And I think if you can get young pitching for EJax you make the trade. I just don’t trust the guy and his contract goes against what Theo likes to do. When he looks at the roster and the contracts I have to imagine he would admit it was a mistake. I think he caved to pressure after the Sanchez debacle. Again, usually he won’t be pressured into those deals which probably makes it een tougher for him to stomach. It went against his better judgment, even if he’d never admit it publically.

  • Tom U

    Daytona has published their tentative opening day roster

    http://daytona.cubs.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140330&content_id=70454196&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_t450&sid=t450

    The big surprise is that they are reporting that Arodys Vizcaino has been assigned to the D-Cubs.

    • Tony_H

      Only thing I can think of is the weather is a lot better in Florida for Vizcaino, versus Tenn or Iowa in April.

      Daytona looks to be a pretty good team again this year.

      • Tom U

        After nearly two years without pitching, some early success can also be helpful.

      • TheWrongGuy

        They also might be re-thinking of stretching him back out into a starter by sending him to A+ league.
        They have changed there minds on things before.

        • Tony_H

          I don’t think so and I really believe the warmer weather is the main reason for the assignment.

      • triple

        That makes alot of sense. Give him the first month in Daytona and if all goes well, he’s probably in Tennessee sometime in May, or maybe straight to Iowa by then.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I like Bosio i think he is a good pitching coach Iike that Jackson added another quality pitch to his arsenal. I love Barney’s gold glove defense it is truly fun to watch and under appreciated, that said from everything thing I’ve heard about Alcantara is he is a plus defender.So if Olt works out at third, Alcantara and Baez progress I’d like to see Alcantara at 2nd and Baez in the outfield. Or Castro get traded for young TOR pitching.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Overall the Cubs infield defense is very solid. Rizzo, Barney have proven to be solid on Defense at the Mlb level. Castro has the ability to be a plus defender, and Olt is reportedly a plus defender also Castillo started last year a little shaky but improved drastically over the course of the season. Our outfield is ppretty solid as well. I think the Cubs will be more competitive this year. The bullpen and rotation have question marks along with Olt Rizzo and Castro lake taking the next step alot of things have to fall into place but im more excited to watch the Cubs this year than in the past4-5 years.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        That catching coach we have has really connected and done well with Castillo.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs place Kyuji Fujikawa and Jake Arrieta on 15-day DL to start season, James McDonald placed on 60-day DL. Cubs 40-man roster currently stands at 40 players

    • BosephHeyden

      I’m taking it that Fujikawa on the 15 day DL rather than 60 like we all thought means they expect him back around mid-May? That’s good if that’s the case.

    • Tony_H

      I have thought that the reports on Fujikawa have been good, where 60 days might be too long.

      McDonald they are just stashing away and hoping that they can coach him up to bring out the potential he has shown.