Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus two players are on the 60-DAY IL 

26 players on MLB RESERVE LIST are ACTIVE, twelve players are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors, one player is on the 15-DAY IL, and one player is on the 10-DAY IL

Last updated 4-18-2024
* bats or throws left
# bats both

Yency Almonte
Adbert Alzolay 
Javier Assad
Colten Brewer
Ben Brown
Kyle Hendricks
* Shota Imanaga
Mark Leiter Jr
Hector Neris 
* Drew Smyly
Jameson Taillon 
Keegan Thompson
* Jordan Wicks

Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

* Michael Busch 
Garrett Cooper
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

* Cody Bellinger 
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman 

Kevin Alcantara, OF 
Michael Arias, P 
Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF 
Jose Cuas, P 
Brennen Davis, OF 
Porter Hodge, P 
* Luke Little, P 
* Miles Mastrobuoni, INF
* Matt Mervis, 1B 
Daniel Palencia, P 
Luis Vazquez, INF 
Hayden Wesneski, P 

10-DAY IL: 1 
Seiya Suzuki, OF

* Justin Steele, P   

60-DAY IL: 2 
Caleb Kilian, P 
Julian Merryweather, P

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

MLB Opening Day Roster Limits

NOTE: This is an abridged version of a story I posted here about nine years ago, but in the archives it is attributed to Christian Ruzich, but actually I wrote it...

The 25-man Opening Day roster limit and clubs having to cut their 40-man rosters down to 25 by Opening Day is one of the “Rights of Spring Training,” in some cases the “last rite” (so to speak) for many players. But the 25-man Opening Day roster limit is a fairly recent invention.

I used to have an extensive Sporting News collection that went back many, many years (unfortunately it was destroyed in a flood about 25 years ago), and it was fun for me on a rainy day to go back and look at how managers would handle the transition from Spring Training to Opening Day back in the olden days. I noticed that managers were not particulary worried about making “final roster cuts” at the end of Spring Training, because the worry would come later, sort of incrementally.

While the idea that clubs can activate their entire 40-man roster for the last month of the season--giving young players a “cup of coffee” or “full trial” after the minor leagues close on or about Labor Day--goes back about 100 years, the idea that clubs must operate with only 25 players from Opening Day through August 31st does not. 

A guy named Clifford Blau has actually compiled the history of roster limits, and it is interesting to note the changes over the years on his chart.

1968 was the first season in MLB history where clubs had to cut their 40-man roster down to 25 on Opening Day. That was when managers started to hear the question “How many pitchers are you going to take north, skip?” I believe Jim Bouton refers to that question in Ball Four, because it was still a new thing in 1969.

During the years 1957-1967, MLB clubs had to cut their 40-man rosters to 28 by Opening Day, and then to 25 by the 31st day of season. If you look back at the Opening Day rosters from that 11-year period, you would note that at least two of the three “extra” players carried during the first month of the season were usually pitchers (and that was before the days of starting pitchers having their workloads limited by arbitrary pitch counts!).

Most clubs circa 1957-67 normally carried nine or ten pitchers May through August, but they would often carry 12 pitchers during the month of April. It was recognized even then that pitchers needed more time than position players to get ready for the start of the season, and having an extra couple of arms available during the first month was understood to be advisable. By May, all starting pitchers were expected to be ready to handle a full work-load (pitch a complete game, if possible), and the three extra guys (including usually a couple of pitchers) were optioned or outrighted to the minors, traded, or released.

Prior to 1957, the roster limit remained at 40 until the 31st day of the season. That doesn’t mean all clubs would carry 40 players during the month of April, just like clubs today do not activate their entire 40-man roster on September 1st just because they have the right to do so. When the roster limit remained at 40 until the 31st day of the season, clubs would (in reality) carry maybe five extra players, with the other ten players usually being young players who weren’t ready to play in the big leagues, and they would be optioned to the minors to get a chance to play every day.

The type of player who would be kept around during the first month back when the 40-man roster cut-down date was the 31st day of the season would be veterans at the end of their careers trying to remain in the big leagues for a little while longer, 4-A type minor league players (that is, guys who had “mastered” AAA but who were having difficulty making the transition to MLB), Rule 5 Draft picks, “bonus players” who couldn’t be sent to the minor leagues without first clearing waivers, and players who were out of minor league options.

In the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s, the 40-man roster (or 48-man reserve list with a 30-man active roster limit during the “heart” of the season in 1945 and 1946 as player returned from WWII) “cut-down” date was even later than the 31st day of the season, in some cases as late as May 15th, or even June 15th in some years!

And prior to 1977, clubs had no 25-man “minimum” roster requirement as they do now. Clubs having financial problems could play with 22 or 23 players if they wanted to do that, and some did. Beginning in 1977, the CBA required clubs to maintain a 24-man minimum active roster during the regular season, and the owners tried a half-year experiment (April through June 1978) where clubs rosters were set at 24, but it was abandoned.

In 1987, as part of the Grand Ueberroth Collusion Plan of 1987-89, teams "coincidentally, individuually, and independently" decided to play with only 24 players (which they had had the right to do since 1977, but had only talked about doing for years). They continued to go with 24-man rosters for a total of three full years (1987 through 1989), until the lockout of 1990 resulted in a new CBA that permitted clubs to play with 24 players in 1990, but required clubs to go to 25-man rosters (minimum) in 1991. However, several clubs jumped the gun and went to 25-man rosters on Opening Day 1990, so all of the other MLB teams immediately went to 25-man rosters, too, so as to not be at a competitive disadvantage. And that was (apparently) the end of the 24-man roster. However, in a subsequent CBA the roster minimum was changed to give MLB clubs the option to operate with a 24-man roster. But no club actually does that (except maybe temporarily after a trade while waiting for a newly-acquired player or players to report) because it would be a competitive disadvantage if all teams don't do it.

So there is nothing “written in stone” when it comes to cutting the 40-man roster to 25 players by Opening Day, or even maintaining a 25-man roster during the regular season. The current roster limits and a cut-down to 25 players on Opening Day is a fairly recent invention, and it is totally arbitrary and could be subject to change in a future CBA.

With the current CBA set to expire after the 2016 season and with the possibility that MLB could (because of the increase in interleague play) choose to implement the DH league-wide beginning in 2017, it might be possible that MLB clubs could go back to expanded rosters (perhaps 28) for the first 30 days of the season (while starting pitchers are still getting "stretched-out"), then perhaps a 24-man roster up until September, and then only a limited expanded roster (maybe no more than 28 or 30 players) beginning on September 1st.



ESPN piece predicting most improved teams in 2015:…

This line on the Cubs sums up 2014 pretty well:

"Like the Astros, the Cubs carried a lot of dead weight in 2014 -- Darwin Barney, Nate Schierholtz, Junior Lake, Mike Olt, John Baker, Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez were horrible offensive contributors, each batting at least 200 times and posting an OPS+ of 70 or less. That’s bad, but Cubs fans already knew that." 

G. Soto gets minor league deal from White Sox, J. Marquis got one from Reds the other day.

[ ]

In reply to by Rob G.

The meotoric fall of Soto was impressive. I didn't see that coming at all, Rookie of the Year to irrelevant 4A player in just a few years. Reminds of Jerome Walton. 

Walton is actually interesting in that he tanked in 1990-1993, but then from 1994-1998 he put up a slash line .303/360/478 (838 OPS) in over 400 PAs as a pinch hitter and spot starter. He was with 4 teams during that time and no one seemed to want to give him more ABs despite the fact that he performed well in those that he was given. He was getting about half as many ABs as Dwight Smith during that same time, and Smith was lauded as a solid pinch hitter, but he actually performed much worse than Walton at the plate.

I remember in 1989 thinking that those two would be in the outfield together for 5-6 years anchoring the top of the order. ROY and ROY Runner-Up, Smith had a .382 OBP, Walton had 24 steals. Walton, Smith, Dawson in the OF, Grace, Sandberg, Dunston in the IF. Maddux on the mound. Sigh. That turned into one long shit fest very quickly.

[ ]

In reply to by WISCGRAD

That '89 team was really, really fun to watch -- the young outfielders who could hit and run, the Hawk in RF, Sutcliffe somehow getting it done, Grace emerging, Wild Thing in for the save, Les Lancaster out of his freakin' mind, Lloyd McClendon off the bench, the Shawon-O-Meter -- great stuff. I also think that first playoff game caused pitchers to start covering their mouths with their gloves when they talked on the mound -- everybody could read Maddux's lips "I want to go with fastball". Next pitch, Will Clark grand slam.

[ ]

In reply to by billybucks

In a 5-year period, from 1987-1991, the Cubs had SEVEN players received ROY votes (Lancaster, Berryhill, Grace, Walton, Smith, Harkey, and McElroy), and Palmeiro was an All-Star in his first full season in 1988 but had accumulated enough playing time in 86-87 to have already exceded rookie limits. The future looked bright.

Sadly, most of those guys never panned out as expected, and it would take the Cubs another 16 years to have another 7 players receive ROY votes. With the exceptions of Trachsel and Wood, they basically went a decade without developing any talent until Prior came along in 2002. 

The Cubs have released seven minor leaguers: RHP Josh Davis (2013 NDFA - Belmont U.), LHP Alberto Diaz (2010 IFA - Venezuela), LHP Frailyn Figueroa (2011 IFA - Dominican Republic), LHP Nathan Dorris (2012 17th round - Southern Illinois), RHP Zak Hermans (2013 13th round - Princeton), and RHP Yao-Lin Wang (2009 IFA - Taiwan). and C Lance Rymel (2012 28th round - Rogers State). 

WISCGARD: Not really.

Yao-Lin Wang got a $260K bonus in 2008 but he was an "A"-ball swing-man, plus he was going to be a minor league 6YFA post-2015. He was a SP for Team Chinese Taipei in the WBC qualifying tournament a couple of years ago, so he can probably find work in the Taiwan Major League (TML).

Zak Hermans was a polished lower-level swing-man with minimum upside.

Nathan Dorris was a hotshot coming out of HS but was an under-achiever at Vanderbilt when Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson was there, and Dorris ended up transferring to a JC and then ended up at SIU. He started off pretty well this past season, but had a bad 2nd half.

Josh Davis was a polished NDFA senior roster-filler who moved back-and-forth between EXST and wherever he was needed.

Alberto Diaz is a hard-throwing but short (5'8) LHRP with zero command that I saw a lot of in Extended Spring Training. 

Frailyn Figueroa was at EXST, too, but he was out of shape (overweight) and then he strained something and ended up on the 60-day DL. 

Lance Rymel functioned as a sort of player-coach at several different levels. Good receiving skills but no bat. 

[ ]

In reply to by jacos

If he's made adjustments that could be contributing to his struggles. I wonder if he is still coiling up for those wild swings down there. With Stella in the mix, he's gonna have a hard time sticking after spring training. Cubs have plenty of power once Bryant comes up, and if Olt does well even if he didn't come up right away. A good OPB guy would be fine with me at second.

Denorfia deal looking better and better. Gomes signed with Braves for $4 million (!?!) with a $3 million vesting option (which becomes a team option if it doesn't vest) for 2016. Both are the same age, both supposedly "club house dudes" but Denorfia can play all three OF positions and Cubs are only on the hook for one year at $2.6-3 million (depending on incentives).

[ ]

In reply to by Charlie

yeah, but when you look at what he's swinging at along with the extremely limited area he's cashing in...damn. he isn't doing much with anything except in a very narrow zone. as important as what or where he's hitting is how he's going to get killed with outside/low until he learns to quit swinging at it so much.

"Fangraph's Kiley McDaniel reports that catcher Lorenzo Quintana has defected from Cuba." good hitter with great D (supposedly)...25 years old...eligible to sign with any club (not in the international money pool) once he jumps through residency hoops. interesting guy, if not high on people's lists.

Not counting a Cubs-Sox exhibition game, this was my first Cubs game:  


Ernie Banks played 1B, and it was the first time he ever played 1st base at Wrigley Field.   

If anyone in the universe deserved to see a Cubs world series before passing away, it was Ernie Banks. There's no way to properly pay homage to Ernie that I can think of that matches what he gave us.

I may have been MIA for years, but came straight here when I read about Ernie. Hope his passing was peaceful, and my thoughts are with his family. The Cubs lost a giant yesterday. They should dedicate the 2015 season to him.

[ ]

In reply to by twcoffee

Summer of '69 I was 11, then 12 (August birthday). Played 2 games of neighborhood pickup baseball a day. Every day. Half-field since we only had about 5 guys a side. EVERY kid flexed his fingers on the bat, just like Ernie. As the summer went along, half the kids finished each game jumping up and clicking their heels, just like Ronnie. The other half knew they'd get another chance after lunch or the next morning. Icon is overused these days. Icon also under-describes Ernie.

Odd. His attorney said his death was unexpected and not of natural causes; press conference from family on Sunday at noon.

Recent comments

  • Raisin101 (view)

    Hi Arizona Phil!

    Exciting to see Naz Mule in box scores a few times. What's his stuff like now after the TJS?

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Mastrobuoni can't come back, yet

    Wisdom does have an option left. He can hide in Iowa if Jed DFA's someone else

    Does Brennan Davis get shown the door? I know it's too early for that, but these injuries are crunching the roster of a 12-7 team playoff demands and BDavis isn't going to help anytime soon.

    Someone has to go to add Peralta. And Canario isn't going to get to play everyday regardless of RHers or LHers. Neither is Tauchman. Also don't see PCA getting a chance over Peralta.

    If Jed does those moves:

    4 OF: Belli, Peralta, Canny, Tauch

    2 C: Gomes and Amaya

    2 DH: Cooper and Mervis

    5 INF: Busch, Nico, Dansby, Morel, Madrigal

    Little short on OF depth but two injuries will do that  

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    I have had the pleasure of watching some of the young A's pitchers lately (first Joe Boyle the last day of Minor League Spring Training in March, and more recently Luis Morales last week and Steven Echavarria yesterday at Extended Spring Training), and it reminds me of the Miami Marlins a couple of years ago. A really nice collection of young pitchers. It will be interesting to see what the A's will get for two years of ex-Cub Paul Blackburn at the Trade Deadline (there should be a robust market for Blackburn). 

  • Childersb3 (view)

    Good deal

    MB needs some talent infusion!

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Childersb3: Very possible. Suriel, too. 

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    DJL: if a pitcher is recalled to be the 27th man for a doubleheader and then is optioned back to the minors the next day, the 15-day "clock" does NOT reset. The one day call-up for the doubleheader is treated like it never happened with respect to a pitcher having to spend at least 15 days on optional assignment before he can be recalled. 

  • Arizona Phil (view)

    Probably the only reason David Peralta is still in the organization (he is at AAA Iowa) is to be available in case anything bad were to happen to Ian Happ (which it just did). So if Happ needs to go on the IL, the Cubs can select Peralta to play LF, DFA Wisdom (and hope he and what remains of his $2.725M salary gets claimed off waivers), and recall Mervis to platoon at DH with Cooper (with Canario / Tauchman sharing RF), at least until Suzuki and Happ are back...


  • crunch (view)

    i'd just like to take a moment to express to the world i'm still pissed willson contreras is not a cub when the pricetag was 5/87m (17.5m/yr).

    it would be nice to have a legacy-type player to stick around, especially one with his leadership and the respect he gets from his peers.  cubs fans deserved more than 1 season of contreras + morel...that was gold.

  • crunch (view)

    happ, right hamstring tightness, day-to-day (hopefully 0 days).

    he will be reevaluated tomorrow.

  • Childersb3 (view)

    I guess I'm not looking for that type of AB 

    Just a difference of opinion