Chicago Cubs host 39 pitchers in early weeks of camp
The firemen and the stopper
Looking at the options on paper, the Chicago Cubs bullpen looks better this year than last. The acquisitions of Wade Davis and Koji Uehara provide depth and stability in the late innings. Both bring a great deal of experience in relief work with them to Chicago, which could prove useful come October.
Left-handed reliever Brian Duensing hopes to stay healthy after elbow inflammation cost him half of the 2016 season. In theory, he could slot into a lefty middle relief role for Chicago, addressing a need that arose when Travis Wood departed via free agency.
That being said, Caleb Smith is also in the mix for a bullpen spot at the big league level. The young lefty was selected in the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. While he has never pitched above Class A, he possesses a live arm with upside. The problem is the Cubs have no real place to put him. If he does not leave with the team after camp, he could be headed back to the San Francisco Giants.
These players will join several returning players: Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Carl Edwards Jr and Montgomery (if he does not get the fifth starter spot). With this collection of players, the bullpen looks reliable and solid going into the season.
The only problem at this point is how many pitchers will Maddon carry. Right now, thirteen seems to be the right number. That only gives him 12 offensive options. We can take a pretty solid stab at which position players will crack the roster, so who gets dropped?