Yesterday I wrote part 1 of 3 on whom won’t be back next season or who’s on the brink of making the roster next season. Today I’ll take a look on who will be back next year of active playes on the Chicago Cubs roster (DL and 25-man roster).
SP Jake Arrieta: Arrieta was acquired in the Scott Feldman/Steve Clevenger trade and looks like a good bet to open the season in the Cubs starting rotation. Since his recall from Triple-A, Arrieta looked great in his 1st start but average to below average in his next 2 starts. If Arrieta doesn’t make the team out of spring training, he’ll be the next pitcher called up from Triple-A.
RP Rafael Dolis: Dolis spent most of this season on the DL and we haven’t see him pitched all too much this year. Dolis has great stuff if he can find the strikezone. The Cubs may be falling out of love with Dolis, but I still like him a lot. I think there’s a good chance he does make the team out of spring training, but if not, he’ll open the season with Triple-A and eventually re-called to the majors.
SP Edwin Jackson: Jackson will obvious make the Cubs roster. He signed that big-4 year 52 million in the off-season and he isn’t going anywhere. Jackson hasn’t been great this year besides that one good month where he was un-beatable. The Cubs will hope for a better season next year.
SP Chris Rusin: Rusin has looked great since being re-called from Triple-A and earned a spot in the starting rotation beating out Carlos Villanueva. As of right now, Rusin has the inside track to a spot in the starting rotation next season.
SP Jeff Samardzija: Going into the off-season, the Cubs will first try to trade Samardzija and if they don’t get what they want for him, they’ll sign him to an extension. I’m one who wants the Cubs to do their best to trade Samardzija, but I see an extension more likely. But Samardzija is not an ace! He’s more of a 3 starter than anything.
RP Pedro Strop: Along with Arrieta, the Cubs also acquired Strop in the Baltimore Orioles trade. Out of every piece in the Cubs bullpen, Strop has been the best relief pitcher by far. I do expect Kevin Gregg to leave free agency and would expect Strop to be inserted into the closer role. He has amazing stuff and should be a great closer.
SP Travis Wood: Wood has been the biggest surprise for the Cubs this year. He has looked great and has been a top pitcher for most of the season this year. Earning his 1st career ever all-star nod. Don’t be surprised if the Cubs try to work out an extension with Wood as well. To be honest, I like Wood over Samardzija.
RP: Carlos Villanueva: Villanueva started this season in the Cubs rotation, then was switched to the bullpen when Matt Garza returned, went back to the rotation and was switched back to the bullpen. Barring any injury, I see Villanueva starting the season in the bullpen and traded mid-season.
C Welington Castillo: Castillo is the Cubs starting catcher and will be the starting catcher next season. Castillo started the season off great, went through a slump and is playing alright now. The Cubs are still high on him and consider him their “future.”
2B Darwin Barney: I do expect to hear trade talk revolving Barney this off-season, but I don’t see him going anywhere with his value so low. However, Barney’s time as the starting 2B is coming to an end. He’s close to becoming a full utility player and there’s a chance that’ll be next season.
SS Starlin Castro: Castro has struggled this year, but he’s not going anywhere. Period! He has too much talent and he’ll work all off-season to fix his mechanical problem and come back better thyan ever next season.
1B Anthony Rizzo: Just like Castro, Rizzo has not looked great this season but I expect his best year to come. He has a lot of great potential and he’s a gold glove 1B. You can’t let his talent go away and next season will be a great year for him.
3B Luis Valbuena: Valbuena has missed a lot of time as of late, but I do expect him back next season as the Cubs starting 3B. He may transition into a platoon role or a utility rolse depending on who the Cubs have or call up.
OF Brian Bogusevic: Bogusevic will have to come back on a minor-league deal and I think he will. He hasn’t looked too bad with the Cubs and earned a way back to the team. I see him as the Cubs 5th OF next season.
OF Junior Lake: Lake has been a surprised this year, but does have a lot of great raw talent. He has to work on his outfield skills that don’t look good, but he’ll be the Cubs starting CF next season. Besides his defense, the bat has looked great.
OF Nate Schierholtz: Schierholtz is a free agent, but I do think he’ll re-sign with the Cubs. Since he’ll be guarantee a starting spot. On most teams, he may be a 4th OF at best. The Cubs will have competition for his services, however. I expect the Pittsburgh Pirates to be heavy on him since they’ve been all over him this season.
OF Ryan Sweeney: Sweeney has been on the 60-day DL for a while not, but from what I’ve seen from Sweeney, I think he’ll be back next season. He has looked alright, but a good match for the Cubs. I have him as the Cubs 4th OF next season.
That concludes part 2 of 3. In the next few days, I’ll take a look at the 40-man roster in part 3 of 3.