With Spring Training games a week away and Opening Day only a month from then, it seems as perfect a time as any to start speculating on the squad the Chicago Cubs will send out there behind Kyle Hendricks on Opening Day. Sure, most of the country is mired in the snow and cold weather, but it’s comfortable and 70 degrees in Mesa, AZ today, so let’s play ball.
While much ado has been made of the Cubs’ offseason this winter, the club that runs out onto Wrigley Field on April 1 might not be all that different than the one that you saw in the shortened 2020 season this summer and fall. Other than swapping out Kyle Schwarber with Joc Pederson, the lineup is really going to be very familiar and will ultimately come down to lineup construction for now second-year manager David Ross.
Sure, the bullpen, bench and rotation might look a lot different from this past fall, but the guys you’ve watched run around on the field and step in the box over the past four or five years seemingly won’t change a ton, barring a late trade or worse yet, an injury in the next month. Without further temporizing, let’s take a look at what the Opening Day lineup will look like in the first year of the “Jed Hoyer Era.”