With less than a week until Opening Day, the Cubs' roster is all but set.
Joe Maddon told reporters in Arizona Friday the Cubs will roll with eight relievers to open the season, which doesn't come as any surprise.
#Cubs Maddon says they'll go with 8 relievers— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 23, 2018
Left-handed pitcher Randy Rosario was optioned to Triple-A Iowa, leaving Eddie Butler and Shae Simmons as the two most likely guys to take the final bullpen spot.
Butler, 27, is out of minor-league options, which means if the Cubs do not keep him on their big-league roster, they risk losing him on waivers. Simmons still has two options remaining.
Butler also represents more starting pitching depth for the team beyond their five-man rotation and Mike Montgomery. Theo Epstein's front office likes to enter a season with 8-10 starting pitching options in case of injury, so it'd be hard to see the team getting rid of their No. 7 guy on that depth chart.
This spring, Butler has pitched 10 innings over five games with a 4.50 ERA and five strikeouts. He made 11 starts and two bullpen appearances with the 2017 Cubs, posting a 3.95 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.
Simmons, 27, signed with the Cubs as a free agent Feb. 16 and pitched nine games with the Seattle Mariners last year. He's appeared in four games for the Cubs this spring, pitching to a 2.45 ERA with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
In carrying eight relievers, that only leaves one position player spot available (backup catcher). Outfielder Peter Bourjos was released Friday afternoon and is no longer part of the competition for the final roster spot.
Veteran backstop Chris Gimenez will probably get the nod on the big-league roster over youngster Victor Caratini.
Gimenez comes with experience and a knowledge and relationship with Yu Darvish and we do have confirmation Darvish is making the Opening Day roster:
The Cubs really like Caratini and he's arguably their top position player prospect, but at age 24, he needs to play every day and see regular at-bats, which he wouldn't get backing up Willson Contreras in Chicago.
With that, here's the projected Cubs' Opening Day roster:
Tommy La Stella
Albert Almora Jr.
Brandon Morrow (closer)
Carl Edwards Jr.