Like all of their competitors, the Cubs have just launched into a whole new world of roster management with the introduction of a 60-man player pool for the 2020 season. The Chicago organization elected to open with just fifty slots filled — a decision that GM Jed Hoyer discussed with reporters including MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. (Links below to Twitter.)
Different teams took differing approaches, with the Cubs among those wary of getting stuck with an over-stuffed 60-man unit. Hoyer says the Cubs elected to leave so many openings now to remain nimble as an unusual season unfolds. The idea is to have capacity to add depth as needed in a 60-game sprint. Ensuring adequate support for the active MLB roster is obviously the top priority, but Hoyer did note that the Cubs may ultimately add some more prospects to the pool for developmental reasons.
[RELATED: Explaining The 2020 MLB Roster Rules]
Of course, it may ultimately also be necessary to have prospects on the 60-man in order to structure deals for big league talent. Hoyer plainly believes there’s quite a lot of uncertain waters yet to be navigated. “I just don’t think we know what this is going to be like,” he said when asked about the August 31st trade deadline. 60-man pool flexibility could come in handy if the Cubbies end up being active in dealmaking, which Hoyer left open as a possibility. He says “it’s way too early to tell” how much mid-season player movement we’ll experience.
At the moment, anyway, it doesn’t seem the Cubs are holding spots open for any particular targets from outside the organization. Hoyer says the team is “not down the road” on bringing in any new talent.
That’s true even though the team now has a previously unknown need: filling out a DH spot. Flexibility will be the name of the game there as well, Hoyer indicates. While some National League clubs have added veteran hitters, the Chicago GM says his team intends to utilize its existing depth. Hoyer says the Cubs can manage the position in “a lot of different ways.” He specifically mentioned the possibility of rotating outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Stephen Souza and catchers Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini through the DH slot.