Predicting the Chicago Cubs' opening day 26-man roster

Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson
Chicago Cubs Introduce Dansby Swanson / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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With only three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it's time to take a deep dive at what could be the finalized version of the Chicago Cubs 26-man roster ahead of opening day. The Cubs' additions to this roster will make for an exciting season, and with any over-achieving from certain players, the team is in a solid position to compete for the NL Central title this season. Ahead, we'll take a look at all three facets, including the lineup/bench, starting rotation, and bullpen.

Certain guys will be obvious choices, but those "on the fringe" players are what will be interesting to try to predict. We know there will be an opening or two in the bullpen for which quite a few pitchers will compete. The bench is a question mark for the Cubs, and that could be a "may the best man win" scenario somewhat as well. Without further ado, here's the early prediction for the 26-man roster on opening day.

David Ross
Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Opening Day roster - 3. The lineup

1. Nico Hoerner 2B
2. Ian Happ LF
3. Dansby Swanson SS
4. Seiya Suzuki RF
5. Cody Bellinger CF
6. Trey Mancini DH
7. Eric Hosmer 1B
8. Christopher Morel 3B
9. Yan Gomes C

Bench: Patrick Wisdom, Nick Madrigal, Zach McKinstry, Tucker Barnhart

The lineup is probably the easiest to take a stab at, but analyzing the bench on top of it is a little more complicated. Certainly subject to change based on matchups with LHP vs. RHP, it's a safe assumption that this will be the majority of what you see daily as far as bats go. The Cubs will carry two catchers, and Patrick Wisdom's well below-average defensive metrics last year may limit him to bench/DH duties at best this season. He still has three options remaining, so it will be important to watch and see if Miles Mastrobuoni can give him a run for his money this Spring.

Nick Madrigal, the subject of recent trade rumors, I don't see being moved before the trade deadline. The Cubs are better off adding him to a more extensive trade package from a buyer's standpoint, assuming the Cubs are in contention. He doesn't fetch you enough talent alone to be worth trading for a single prospect unless you somehow get an absolute steal. McKinstry's defensive versatility gives him a decent floor, and if he can swing it any better, he becomes a viable piece for the Cubs. At least from a fill-in standpoint.