Here’s a handful of non-roster invites who could surprise in spring camp to make the Cubs Opening Day roster.
Jason Jaramillo: A solid spring would position the Racine, Wisc. native for the No.2 role behind Geovany Soto. Couple that with a poor spring from Soto, and the 29-year-old could open the season as the No.1 catcher. His left-handed bat, good defense and experience the past three seasons in Pittsburgh (119 games) makes him worth keeping an eye on.
Alfredo Amezaga: He’s 34 and playing for his fifth big league team in nine seasons. A starting job is obviously out of the question. Yet the Cubs lack of infield depth gives Amezaga his best chance to make the roster. His defensive versatility and .251 career batting average as a switch-hitter could land him a bench role come Opening Day.
Blake DeWitt: Similar to Amezega, the lack of infield depth presents DeWitt an opportunity to rejoin the Cubs after being DFA to make room for Adrian Cardenas. With the pressure seemingly off since his release (DeWitt still gets paid $1M whether he makes the team or not) it may just comfort him enough to perform up to par.
Matt Tolbert: He hit below .200 in 87 games last season for the hapless Twins. But his ability to play three infield positions, 2B, 3B & SS, makes him a candidate to sneak on to the roster with a decent spring at the plate. He’ll most likely need to out-hit Amezaga and DeWitt to get there, which isn’t unthinkable.
Brett Jackson: It’s expected the 24-year-old will make the Cubs roster sometime this season, perhaps as early as June. The Cubs win/loss record through April and May should dictate to some degree when exactly the Cubs’ top-prospect will arrive. But if Jackson has a monster spring, however, the decision to add him to the roster could be a surprise move in time for Opening Day.