Chicago Cubs Opening Day 26-man roster prediction 2.0

This lineup packs a punch, but questions still linger regarding the strength of the starting rotation and the bullpen.

2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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Chicago Cubs Opening Day roster prediction 2.0 - The starting rotation

  • Justin Steele
  • Shota Imanaga
  • Kyle Hendricks
  • Jordan Wicks
  • Javier Assad

If Jameson Taillon opens the season on the IL as we fear, It’s going to open up an Opening Day roster spot. Between Javier Assad and Hayden Wesneski, I lean toward Assad to take the reins as the 5th starter in the rotation if needed. Assad has seen more success starting (3.02 as a starter in 2023 vs. Wesneski’s 5.51 ERA), and Wesneski was just fine as a reliever with a 3.57 ERA over 40.1 IP last season. Other than that, Steele, Imanaga, and Hendricks are locks, and the way Wicks looks in spring training so far, with a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 IP, you can count him in too. 

The Cubs missing out on Tyler Glasnow this winter may prove to be the biggest misfire of the offseason, as he has looked like nothing less than an ace so far in spring. He has already been named the starter for game one of the Seoul Series in Korea, and if he can stay healthy, will be exactly what the Cubs lack this year in the rotation. If guys don’t step up this season such as Wicks or Assad, it may be a long year. The rotation needs to be the focal point of improving this roster moving forward. With prospect capital at their disposal, it’s easy to envision a scenario where the Cubs shop for a starting pitcher this summer at the trade deadline.