Alexander Canario, Hayden Wesneski out as Cubs finalize Opening Day roster

With these latest roster moves, it's now clear what the 2024 Chicago Cubs will look like when they open the season on Thursday against the reigning World Series champion Texas Rangers.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The final pieces are in place as the Chicago Cubs finalized their Opening Day roster on Monday, with first-year manager Craig Counsell announcing a series of roster moves ahead of a pair of exhibition matchups with the St. Louis Cardinals in Arizona to close out the spring slate.

Infielders Nick Madrigal and Miles Mastrobuoni round out the Cubs bench, while outfield prospect Alexander Canario and Hayden Wesneski both head to Triple-A Iowa to open the year.

Wesneski will continue to stretch out as a starter with the I-Cubs and it feels like we could see Canario back with the big league team as soon as there's an injury. He makes a ton of sense as a DH candidate, but it looks like for now, Counsell wants that spot to be fluid, with a number of guys likely to see reps there in April.

Cubs focus on versatility in final roster decisions ahead of Opening Day

With Wesneski out of the picture, the final two spots in the Chicago bullpen go to right-hander Jose Cuas, who came over in the Nelson Velazquez trade last July, and big left-hander Luke Little. The hope is that the 23-year-old Little can be the power lefty arm the team has lacked in recent years.

In going with Mastrobuoni and Madrigal, Counsell prioritized roster flexibility over the potential impact a player like Canario might have. Both play multiple positions, with the former capable of playing the infield and outfield, and we'll surely see Madrigal at second, third and short when the starters need a day off (or if the Christopher Morel experiment at third goes totally off the rails).

Chicago opens the regular season on Thursday night on the national stage, taking on the reigning champion Texas Rangers before kicking off their home schedule next week against the Rockies at Wrigley Field.