The Rundown: Roster Becoming Clearer, Phil Coke Added to 40-Man, Wrigley Update Expected Today

Spring Training is coming to an end shortly (thankfully) and the picture that is the Cubs roster is becoming clearer.

As expected, the Cubs sent Kris Bryant and Addison Russell down to the minors, as well as — perhaps less expected — Javier Baez.

I was a little surprised when Gordon Wittenmyer reported last week that the Cubs told Baez that he made the team. Apparently he jumped the gun a bit. But sending him down makes sense, with Tommy La Stella and Arismendy Alcantara ready to step in at second base and Baez struggling mightily to make contact.

(Side note, lost in all of the Bryant silliness and the news about Baez: Addison Russell had a great spring. He looks like the real deal, and talk is increasing now that we’ll see Russell on the Cubs sometime this year. How soon — June/July? September call-up? I’m very much looking forward to it, whenever it occurs.)

So with those moves now out of the way, two main questions remain: Will the Cubs actually go with three catchers, and who will grab the final outfield spot?

Chris Denorfia is fighting a hamstring injury and could begin the year on the disabled list. So that leaves two spots among Ryan Sweeney, Junior Lake and Matt Szczur.

I’m rooting for Szczur, who has had a great spring, and I feel like we’ve seen what we’re going to get from Lake. Jesse Rogers speculates that Szczur could be the favorite, but I could really see it going either way between him and Lake. Rogers also thinks Sweeney likely makes the squad.

Will the Cubs make a late-spring deal? Doesn’t sound like it: Theo Epstein said to not expect a big trade before Opening Day, according to Patrick Mooney. I’m sure the Cubs will make a minor last-minute waiver pickup if it makes sense, but it sounds like the front office is happy with what the Cubs have at the moment.

Coke added to 40-man

The Cubs added lefty reliever Phil Coke to the 40-man roster yesterday. Not a big surprise, as Coke has been pretty solid this spring and doesn’t have a lot of competition. Joe Maddon also seems to really like him.

With Coke making the team, the bullpen likely shakes out as: Hector Rondon, Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Jason Motte, Coke and likely Edwin Jackson.

Bullpens can be finicky, but I think this will be a big-time strength of the 2015 Cubs. Sometimes I forget how good Ramirez was last year; then I remember and become very happy.

Motte has struggled of late (although pitched a scoreless inning yesterday), but I kind of view him as anything positive he provides is just gravy. And who knows how Jackson will perform out of the ‘pen. Despite these possible question marks, I feel good about the bullpen.

Renovation update

The Cubs are expected to announce an update on the Wrigley Field renovations today, according to Carrie Muskat. I’m assuming we’ll hear once and for all whether Opening Day will be taking place at Wrigley — or somewhere else.

Meanwhile, here are a bunch of photos on the renovation progress:

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