Cubs bringing 25 non-roster invites to camp

February 12th, 2021

CHICAGO -- There will be a handful of competitions that the Cubs will have to sort out throughout Spring Training and the candidates will extend beyond the rostered players. In fact, every preseason in every camp, non-roster candidates emerge as real contenders for Opening Day jobs.

On Friday, the Cubs announced the names of 25 players who will be in camp with the Major League team as non-roster invitees. They will have a chance to jockey for big league innings or roles off the bench.

Here is a breakdown of the players invited to Cubs camp, which officially begins on Wednesday with the first workout for pitchers and catchers:

PITCHERS

The most interesting name might be the veteran Miller, who comes to the Cubs as an ongoing reclamation project. He opted out of the 2020 season and he missed parts of the 2017-18 campaigns due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Dating back to '16, the righty has logged a total of 183 innings, including 44 in a rough '19 (8.59 ERA) with the Rangers. From 2012-15, Miller had a 3.22 ERA in 102 games.

Lefties Andrew Chafin, Kyle Ryan and Brad Wieck are the top three relief options on the depth chart. Prospects like Brailyn Marquez and Justin Steele are rostered as well, but they are starting pitchers by trade. It is possible that a non-roster invitee works his way into the bullpen mix. Morgan has worked 199 MLB games for the Phillies (2015-20), holding left-handed hitters to a .226 batting average and .640 OPS.

POSITION PLAYERS

Rivas will be a player to watch this spring with the future in mind. The Cubs reeled in the lefty-hitting first-base prospect from the A's in a January 2020 trade for utility man Tony Kemp. The most interesting name here for '21 is probably Duffy, who has hit .282 (.718 OPS) in parts of five MLB seasons with the Giants and Rays. That said, the third baseman's best season came back in '15 (.295 with 46 extra-base hits).

Related

As things currently stand, the Cubs have a fourth outfielder option on the roster in Phillip Ervin, and another coming soon in Jake Marisnick (one-year MLB deal, pending physical). In the battle for bench jobs, Miller offers an intriguing speed option. He was in the hunt for an Opening Day job with the Cubs last spring. Martini -- a native of Chicagoland -- is a lefty corner bat who has big league experience (.751 OPS in 87 games).

The Cubs' MLB catching situation is set with Willson Contreras in the top slot and veteran Austin Romine signed as the backup. Depth behind the plate is always important, however, and Chicago wants to ensure it can buy development time for prospect Miguel Amaya. Higgins is an internal option who has impressed and he could easily serve as the third-string catcher. The 36-year-old Lobaton offers more veteran experience.