Answering the Miles Mastrobuoni question of the Chicago Cubs Opening Day roster

The manager change should put Miles Mastrobuoni in a better role for 2024.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

Miles Mastrobuoni has been an annoyance to many Chicago Cubs fans since David Ross had him penciled in as the Opening Day right fielder in 2023

In hindsight, that was an indictment of Ross than it was Mastrobuoni.

Nevertheless, Ross' over-reliance on Mastrobuoni during the 2023 season has left many Cubs fans cringing anytime the utility infielder is getting meaningful at-bats during regular season games.

That is also the reason why many fans are questioning the decision that the Cubs made regarding their 2024 Opening Day Roster. The Cubs demoted power-hitting outfield prospect Alexander Canario to Triple-A in favor of Mastrobuoni earning the final spot on the Cubs' bench.

The debate over the 26th man on the Cubs' Opening Day roster was not about Mastrobuoni or Canario as much as it was about the fact that Patrick Wisdom is opening the season on the IL while Nick Madrigal is still recovering from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for most of the final month of Spring Training.

With Christopher Morel in the early days of his life as a Major League Baseball third baseman, Mastrobuoni will serve as the primary backup at the hot corner--at least until Madrigal isn't limited by his recovery and Wisdom is activated.

This shouldn't upset as a Cubs' fan.

Miles Mastrobuoni could prove valuable for the Chicago Cubs in 2024

Ross is no longer the manager of the Cubs, in his place is Craig Counsell. Counsell will likely use Mastrobuoni in his natural role in terms of being the 26th man on a roster.

To that end, Mastrobuoni proved during the second half of the 2023 season that he is very valuable in a reserve role. While being able to play all over the infield except first base and both corner outfield spots, Mastrobuoni slashed .309/.347/.382 with a 102 wRC+ in 73 plate appearances after the All-Star break last season. The production Mastrobuoni had during the second half of the 2023 season is the ceiling for what the expectation should be for a bench player.

While there is no reason Mastrobuoni should ever be a regular in the starting lineup, his inclusion on the 2024 Opening Day roster shouldn't be as enraging for Cubs fans this season as it was last year.

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