It was a little surprising when the Cubs agreed to a pre-tender deal with lefty Kyle Ryan, who was coming off of a rough 2020 campaign, but his remaining minor league option likely had something to do with it. The Cubs took advantage of that flexibility Friday when they optioned Ryan to Triple-A as part of their latest round of camp cuts.
Also being sent to Iowa were James Norwood, Justin Steele, and Brailyn Marquez. Michael Hermosillo, Nick Martini, Joe Biagini, Ian Miller, and José Lobatón were reassigned to minor league camp. Though these moves might not seem very important on the surface, the choices with Ryan and Lobaton offer hints at the Cubs’ Opening Day roster.
Austin Romine is nursing a sore knee and isn’t expected to be back by the end of spring training, so P.J. Higgins should head north as the primary backup catcher. And with Andrew Chafin firmly installed as the primary lefty in the ‘pen, it appears as though one of either Brad Wieck or Rex Brothers will claim a spot.
The remaining roster of 38 players consists of 21 pitchers (five non-roster invitees), three catchers (one NRI), eight infielders (two NRIs) and six outfielders (two NRIs).