Cubs set 25-man roster for NLDS against Giants

Cubs set 25-man roster for NLDS against Giants

After much speculation among fans and the Chicago media, the Cubs have set their 25-man roster for the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants that kicks off Friday night at Wrigley Field.

With the Cubs locking up a spot in the NLDS so early, the fun for fans and media turned to how the roster would be constructed.

In the end, the Cubs front office and Joe Maddon's coaching staff opted for 14 hitters and 11 pitchers, including three catchers and seven relievers.

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Jorge Soler was one of the guys in question with his health woes - he missed much of the last two weeks of the regular season with a side issue - but the Cubs ultimately deemed him healthy enough for a spot on the roster. 

Maddon called Soler "an offensive force" during the final homestand of the season and said other teams absolutely have to gameplan around him. 

The slugger proved that last postseason when he set a major-league record by reaching base his first nine trips to the plate against the St. Louis Cardinals and wound up posting a .474 batting average and 1.705 OPS in 7 playoff games.

The surprise is no Matt Szczur on the NLDS roster, who played in 106 games during the regular season, hitting .259 with a .712 OPS while playing all three outfield positions. In his place, Albert Almora Jr. will get his first taste of the postseason.

Almora figures to be a key defensive replacement in the outfield in the latter innings.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Here is the complete 25-man roster for the Cubs:


David Ross
Miguel Montero
Willson Contreras


Anthony Rizzo
Kris Bryant
Ben Zobrist
Addison Russell
Javy Baez
Tommy La Stella


Dexter Fowler
Jason Heyward
Jorge Soler
Albert Almora Jr.
Chris Coghlan

Starting pitchers

Jon Lester
Kyle Hendricks
Jake Arrieta
John Lackey


Aroldis Chapman
Hector Rondon
Pedro Strop
Justin Grimm
Travis Wood
Carl Edwards Jr.
Mike Montgomery

Cubs expected to hire Mike Napoli — David Ross' former teammate — as quality assurance coach

Cubs expected to hire Mike Napoli — David Ross' former teammate — as quality assurance coach

David Ross will not only be managing former teammates with the Cubs in 2020, but he'll be coaching alongside one, too.

The Cubs are expected to add former MLB catcher Mike Napoli to Ross' coaching staff, per multiple reports. Napoli will assume the title of quality assurance coach, vacated by Chris Denorfia, who held the position for one season.

Napoli played in parts of 12 big-league seasons from 2006-17 with the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and Indians. He won the 2013 World Series with Boston — alongside Ross and Cubs starter Jon Lester — and was also a key figure with the 2016 Indians, whom the Cubs defeated in the World Series. He finished his career with a .246/.346/.475 slash line with 267 home runs. 

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Cubs pursued Napoli last winter, though the 38-year-old wanted to take a short break from baseball before jumping into coaching. He'll join a Cubs coaching staff that is almost finalized, with the exception of one vacant base coach spot. Here's what the group looks like right now:

Manager — David Ross
Bench coach — Andy Green
Pitching coach — Tommy Hottovy
Associate pitching coach, catching and strategy coach — Mike Borzello
Hitting coach — Anthony Iapoce
Assistant hitting coach — Terrmel Sledge
Bullpen coach — Chris Young
Base coach — Will Venable
Base coach — open
Quality assurance coach — Mike Napoli

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday the organization hopes to have the coaching staff finalized by the end of the week. With Napoli on board, the Cubs are one step closer to making that goal a reality.

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Fans apologize to Yu Darvish following Astros cheating allegations

Fans apologize to Yu Darvish following Astros cheating allegations

When the Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish at the 2017 trade deadline, he was expected to be one of the final pieces to their championship puzzle.

After a solid nine-start regular season with Los Angeles, Darvish was stellar early in the postseason. In two starts (one in the NLDS, one in the NLCS), he allowed two runs across 11.1 innings, racking up 14 strikeouts compared to a single walk.

Things went downhill for Darvish in the World Series, where he surrendered nine runs in 3.1 innings across two starts. This includes Game 7, when he threw 47 pitches in 1.2 innings, allowing five runs in a 5-1 series-clinching win for the Astros.

Darvish became a scapegoat for the Dodgers' World Series loss and faced heavy backlash from fans. Consequentially, he had concerns about re-signing with the Dodgers when he became a free agent that offseason, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, due to fears of how the city's anger towards him would affect his family.

Two years later, fans are now apologizing for directing their anger at Darvish for his World Series performance. Why?

Tuesday, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported the Astros stole opposing teams' signs electronically during the 2017 season. This conflicts with the notion of Darvish tipping his pitches in the World Series, which an anonymous Astros player told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci was the case.

The notion of Darvish tipping his pitches is now in question altogether:

As has often been the case this offseason, Darvish had a brilliant reaction to the whole situation on Twitter:

Darvish joined the Cubs in 2018 on a six-year deal. After an injury-riddled debut season with the Cubs, he took off post-All-Star break in 2019 and is expected to be the team's Opening Day starter in 2020. Although what happened in 2017 can't be changed, it's nice to see he's moved forward.

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