3 Chicago Cubs non-roster players who could make the Opening Day roster

The Cubs could break camp with one or more of their minor league bullpen depth signings.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Arizona and it's time for the Chicago Cubs to get into Spring Training mode. Although the team still has work to do in the offseason with Cody Bellinger and other Scott Boras clients still on the market, it won't be long until games are played in the Cactus League. February 23 will be the first chance to see the 2024 Cubs in action for the first time as they take on the White Sox in Mesa.

Alongside the many major and minor leaguers arriving in camp, each team always brings a wide selection of non-roster invitees to try and prove themselves and earn a spot on the team. From tenured minor leaguers to recent minor league signings looking to bounce back, there's no shortage of competition to earn one of the final spots on the roster. This year, the Cubs have 19 such players consisting of 11 pitchers, three infielders, an outfielder, and four catchers.

The extra depth provided by these players will not only help the Cubs get by as injuries hit throughout the season but also open the door for a surprise major league contributor. Let's take a look at three of those non-roster invitees who have a real shot to make the Opening Day roster.

#3: Carl Edwards Jr.

Old friend Carl Edwards Jr. was one of several to earn a minor league deal from the Cubs this offseason and seems like the most likely to make the cut at the end of camp. Injuries limited him to only 31 1/3 innings last year, but The String Bean Slinger was effective as a National before that. He performed closer to his previous Cubs days, posting a 3.07 ERA and 4.11 FIP during his two years in Washington.

Edwards is a smart, low-risk bet to bounce back on a minor-league deal, even if his velocity and strikeout rate aren't really what they used to be. In 2023, he managed a 3.69 ERA and 3.86 FIP despite a career-low 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings thanks to inducing abysmal contact with a 4% barrel rate and a 29% hard-hit rate against. The Cubs could use more swing-and-miss from the bullpen, but the results Edwards has shown over the past few years make him a good bet to pitch meaningful innings right off the bat, assuming he's fully healthy.