MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' complex has been alive with the sounds of baseballs popping into gloves and cracking off bats in recent days. About two dozen players were already in camp a week before they were required to report.
It was the same as Chicago's pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona on the eve of the team's first official workout. New Cubs manager David Ross watched a series of bullpen sessions and chatted with his revamped coaching staff. There was activity in the cage, on the agility field and in the gym.
Even as blockbuster trade rumors swirled over the winter months, the Cubs were relatively inactive within MLB's offseason spending boom. The core group that seemed to be in jeopardy of a breakup remains intact as Camp Ross opens. For the players who make up a mostly unchanged roster, the expectations remain high, even with whispers of possible transactions prior to Opening Day persisting.
"We still can get to the playoffs, for sure," Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said. "We know that we didn't add two huge, or three huge names in the bullpen. That does not mean we cannot get to the playoffs. That doesn't mean we cannot win the division."
The big question hovering over Cubs camp right now is whether Kris Bryant will be traded before the season opener or remain in the fold. Chicago is trying to balance contending now with planning for the future, and dealing Bryant is one way to potentially tackle both.
Beyond Bryant's status with the Cubs -- a storyline that will continue into the summer even if he is not traded this spring -- Chicago will have ample competition this spring. There is no clear-cut favorite to start at second base. The fifth spot in the rotation is up for grabs. There will be a battle for bench jobs and a wide-open race for multiple bullpen roles.
"There's no guarantees with a lot of this," Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. "But, with that comes a lot of competition, that fun environment. So you're going to see the best of guys. So, I think our goal is to take the best team we can to Chicago to start the season. We're going to give a lot of guys opportunities to prove they can be part of that group."
As the 2020 season approaches, here is what you need to know about Spring Training.
Pitchers and catchers report date
Tuesday, Feb. 11
First pitchers and catchers workout
Wednesday, Feb. 12
Full squad report date
Sunday, Feb. 16
First full-squad workout
Monday, Feb. 17
New faces to know
RHP Jharel Cotton (via trade from A's), RHP Jeremy Jeffress (one-year MLB contract), RHP Trevor Megill (Rule 5 Draft), RHP Casey Sadler (via trade from Dodgers), Steven Souza Jr. (one-year MLB contract), RHP Ryan Tepera (one-year, split MLB contract) and RHP Dan Winkler (one-year, split MLB contract).
Top prospects to know
MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list for 2020 features four Cubs: SS Nico Hoerner (No. 51), LHP Brailyn Marquez (No. 68), OF Brennen Davis (No. 78) and C Miguel Amaya (No. 95).
Where is the facility?
Sloan Park, the Cubs' home stadium for Spring Training, is located at 2330 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., in Mesa, Ariz. The team's training facility is part of the same grounds, neighboring the ballpark just to the west.
Can fans attend workouts?
Yes, there is parking for fans as well as plenty of spots around the complex to watch the workouts, have opportunities to interact with the players and get autographs and pictures. The timing of morning workouts can vary, but typically, players will begin training outside in the 10 a.m. CT hour.
Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2:05 p.m. CT vs. the A's at Sloan Park.
First TV game
Marquee Sports Network, the Cubs' new regional sports network, is set to launch on Feb. 22, and it will broadcast all of the team's Spring Training games.
Other notable games
On Monday, March 2, at 2:05 p.m. CT, the Cubs' split squad will face the Angels and former manager Joe Maddon for the first time. The Cubs will take on the White Sox on Friday, March 6, at 2:05 p.m. CT at Sloan Park, and again on Friday, March 13, at 3:05 p.m. CT at Camelback Ranch.
Last game in Arizona
The Cubs will wrap up their Cactus League slate on Monday, March 23, at 2:05 p.m. CT vs. the Padres at Sloan Park.
Any additional exhibitions before the regular season?
Yes. The Cubs' split squad plays the Reds on March 7-8 in Las Vegas, Nev. Both games are at 3:05 p.m. CT.
Opening Day date, time, opponent and location
On Thursday, March 26, the Cubs will face the rival Brewers at 1:10 p.m. CT at Miller Park to start the 2020 campaign. Chicago will host the Pirates at 3:10 p.m. CT on Monday, March 30, for its home opener at Wrigley Field.