The Chicago Cubs have several players who are going to be coming off the DL in the next few weeks and the team will have decisions to make on who stays on the big league roster.
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have several players currently on the 15-day DL and some are going to be eligible to come off the DL soon. That means the Cubs will have decisions to make regarding who stays and who goes on the 25-man roster.
Joe Maddon said today in the Chicago Tribune that the Cubs will continue to carry 13 pitchers, which means that when some of the position players return, it won’t be a pitcher that gets sent out. So, that means the Cubs will need to make decisions regarding guys like Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras.
To begin, Cubs infielder Tommy LaStella likely will be the first player off the disabled list and that could be as soon as this weekend. He is on a minor league rehab assignment right now and appears to be ready to come back.
- Either Jorge Soler or Tommy LaStella stay in the minor leagues: Both of these seem like unlikely scenarios. While it could happen, the Cubs clearly want to build Soler’s trade value and keeping him in the minors won’t help that. LaStella has put together solid season with a .298/.378/.494 slash line and Soler was turning a corner before he hit the DL.
- Either one of Albert Almora or Willson Contreras head back to the minors. This seems like the most likely scenario. At this moment, Albert Almora appears to be the odd man out. Contreras is starting to catch three out of the five Cubs starters and he so far has proven that he can stay in the big leagues. With that being said, Almora is fresh off his first career home run and has been impressive since joining the Cubs (.286/.327/.449 slash line). So the decision won’t be easy.
- Cubs pull off a trade for one or more of the following players: Chris Coghlan, Miguel Montero, Matt Szczur or one of the guys on the DL. At this moment, that seems like an unlikely scenario, however, this could happen later in July as the trade deadline approaches. Coghlan has been better since joining the Cubs than he was with the A’s, but his playing time has been reduced with Almora and Contreras playing well.
- The Cubs go back to 12 players on the pitching staff. Again, this is a likely scenario later down the road, likely after the All-Star Break. Maddon made it clear that with the bullpen’s recent struggles, having a 13th guy is probably best for them right now, especially with Adam Warren returning to make a start. We will save bullpen decisions for another article because that has a lot of questions of who can stay and who can go.
So those are all the possible scenarios and one or more of those will likely happen over the next few weeks. The good thing is that Tommy LaStella is the closest to returning, and a report from Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago indicates he will play one more game in Iowa today and likely return to the club tomorrow. So a decision is looming.
Besides Adam Warren, it’s possible that Jorge Soler, Dexter Fowler and Clayton Richard don’t return til after the All-Star Break which gives the Cubs more time to determine how they want to shape the roster going into the stretch run after the break. I have a hard time believing the Cubs wouldn’t want Contreras and Almora in their second half plans, so July could be an active period for the Cubs, but again, with only 25 spots, the Cubs have a good dilemma to deal with.