This Chicago Cubs non-roster invite may be here to stay

This veteran first baseman may have a role with the Cubs this season.

2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs were smart to bring in veteran first baseman Dominic Smith on a non-roster invite.

A few weeks ago, that would have been a risky statement to make. The Cubs were adding a reclamation project in Smith to a roster that did not include Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger is back with the Cubs, likely to open the season as the team's center fielder, but a move to first base may occur depending on the progressions of prospects Pete Crow-Armstrong and Michael Busch.

That is the reason why Smith's inclusion in Spring Training with the Cubs should not create the same sense of fear that there was last season when the team was willing to open the 2023 season with Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini as the solution at first base.

A recent Spring Training Notebook from Tony Andracki of the Marquee Sports Network highlighted the work that Smith has done recently in an attempt to return to being the offensive player that was on the ascension for the New York Mets after the 2019 season.

Dominic Smith could be an unsung hero for the Chicago Cubs in 2024.

The work seems to be paying off for Smith as he has three hits through his first nine plate appearances with the Cubs during Spring Training. Two of those three hits were extra-base hits including a home run.

Smith may have an uphill climb toward making the Opening Day roster. Fellow non-roster invite, Garrett Cooper, likely is on the inside track toward making the Opening Day Roster but Smith could stick around given the team's plan for the designated hitter spot in the lineup. Smith's inclusion on the roster would likely mean that Patrick Wisdom is elsewhere by Opening Day.

Even if the Cubs do not view Smith as being a part of the mix for the Opening Day roster, the team may eye the veteran for the spot that was previously designated for Matt Mervis. As to Mervis essentially serving as the up-and-down first baseman for the Cubs in 2024, that honor could belong to Smith. Smith is out of options, however, so he would have to remain on the Major League roster once placed.

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