Cubs Option Thompson, Mervis to AAA as Spring Roster Trimmed to 42

Sunday saw the Cubs reduce their spring roster from 47 to 42 players as they creep closer to identifying the 26 men who will break camp for Arlington in 10 days. The two most notable cuts were right-handed pitcher Keegan Thompson and infielder Matt Mervis, both of whom were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Righty Cam Sanders, catcher Bryce Windham, and infielder Chase Strumpf — all non-roster invitees — were assigned to minor league camp.

Many view this as indicative of how the club views Mervis, which isn’t entirely incorrect. But the way I see it, this is a big vote of confidence in Michael Busch. While they certainly could have kept Mervis around to split time with Busch at first base and DH, it seems more likely they’ll opt for a right-handed hitter who’s not currently on the roster.

Based on Garrett Cooper‘s performance at the plate and his ability to play the corner outfield as well, I’d say he’s got the inside track at this point. Dominic Smith has also hit the ball very well, though he’s a lefty batter who’s less versatile on defense. We’ll find out soon enough which direction the Cubs are taking since there’s just over a week remaining before they need to make those last calls.

Chicago’s spring roster of 42 players consists of 22 pitchers (five non-roster invitees), four catchers (two NRIs), 9 infielders (three NRIs), six outfielders (one NRI), and one infielder/outfielder.

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