It should be simple. The Chicago Cubs need to take the top 25 players that have contributed the most for this team into the first round. Right? It’s far from simple as the bench continues to make the decisions for Joe Maddon more difficult with their strong play.
The Chicago Cubs playoff roster figures to be an interesting decision for Joe Maddon and the Cubs front office. Aside from the pitchers, the rest of the lineup doesn’t look as streamlined as you might think. Our Corey Francis has already taken a look at the rotation possibilities. But what about the bench?
The Cubs have gotten contributions from everyone on this team at one point or another. As of late, even Miguel Montero who was biding his time until the end of the season has had a renaissance at the plate. He capped it off today with a walk-off home run to spark the celebration that was already planned. It just got a little better with the win.
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And then there’s Chris Coghlan. He added a three-hit game with a RBI and two runs scored while filling in at first base. While he’s not had the season he had last year, he’s a solid left-handed bat to have at Maddon’s disposal. After Jorge Soler left after the third with soreness in his right side, Coghlan may still have his chance.
Everyone making their case
Matt Szczur and Tommy La Stella have been solid pinch-hitters while David Ross has been automatic stopping the opponents run game. Even Albert Almora, Jr. could make a case for an outfield spot. He’s driven in four runs including a two-run home run today.
And the once maligned bullpen? The Cubs will have to leave some very solid arms off of the roster, at least in the first round. It’s not going to be a case of poor performance but of too many qualified bodies and not enough spots. Does Mike Montgomery make it as a bullpen arm? What about Carl Edwards, Jr.? Felix Pena has been strong in his limited time up. He doesn’t have a strong case, but it solidifies one point.
The Cubs can’t go wrong with whoever they choose for the 25-man NLDS roster. It will very likely come down to matchup potential on both sides of the ball. One of the more curious cases will be that of the rotation. I don’t think there is any longer the question of Kyle Hendricks. But WHEN? The Cubs rode the hot arm of Jake Arrieta last season. Now they have Jon Lester and Hendricks they can do the same with.
But first, let’s finish up some business. The Cubs need to lock up the best record in the National League and guarantee themselves home-field advantage until the World Series. The Cubs know there in the playoffs. They know they were one of the top teams from wire-to-wire. But they won’t be content with any of those things.
There’s only one goal in mind for this team. And even if someone isn’t on the playoff roster, it doesn’t mean they weren’t part of it. It’s been a team effort since Spring Training, and it’s still one now.