This non-roster invite's Spring Training is hard for the Chicago Cubs to ignore

The Cubs may have found another veteran to provide pop off the bench.

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

Garrett Cooper went 3-3 on Wednesday in the Cubs' Spring Training game against Cleveland, raising his preseason average to .400 in six games. One of his hits was a solo home run to left. He sports two homers, a double, six total hits, and three walks heading into Thursday.

Cooper came to Cubs camp as a non-roster invitee back on March 1, giving them some more depth at the first base position. While not on the current 40-man roster, he is making a solid case for him to make the Opening Day roster. With Cody Bellinger likely playing mostly centerfield to start the season, the next men up at first are Michael Busch, Patrick Wisdom, and Matt Mervis. Can technically throw in Christopher Morel in that mix but his current focus is third. Looking at how the positions are shaping up, there are arguments to put Cooper on the roster.

Busch is a lefty who the Cubs are high on being a notable cog on the team. That said it makes sense to do some lefty-righty platooning at first. Wisdom can be the righty power bat, but he also has the opportunity to play at third or the bench especially if Nick Madrigal is hurt. What Cooper has over Mervis is seven years of experience and the righthanded bat counter to Busch. Even if Spring Training often means little, Cooper's resume as an MLB player is pretty solid.

Garrett Cooper is making a strong case to be on the Chicago Cubs bench.

In 1,813 games, Cooper sports a career .268/.337/.435 slash with .772 OPS, 109 OPS+ and 56 homers. He is a career .286/.338/.478 and .816 hitter against lefties but also sports a respectable .262/.337/.419 slash against righties. He might not have huge power but he can hit. It's nice insurance to have if Busch struggles to hit and Bellinger is needed in centerfield.

This will be an interesting decision for the Cubs, as there are a lot of candidates for the depth spots. Right now Cooper is certainly making a nice case for himself.

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