Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein

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Cubs Could Still Add At Fringe Of Roster Before Opening Day

"It would have to be somebody that really stands out," Joe Maddon says.

Bruce Levine
March 22, 2018 - 12:23 pm
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By Bruce Levine--

MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) -- While plenty confident in the makeup of their current 25-man roster, it remains in play that the Cubs could add at the fringe of their roster before opening the regular season against the Marlins next Thursday.

"It's not impossible," manager Joe Maddon said of a low-profile trade or waiver pickup happening. "We are happy with what we have. I know we are. That said, if something would pop you between the eyes, you have to take a look at it."

Any addition would likely be a reliever or a utilityman capable of playing the infield and outfied. Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know that Maddon loves speed and multi-positional players. Veteran Ben Zobrist is that utilityman to an extend, but he's limited defensively. So the Cubs could look to add in that regard.

Also in play is adding another member to the bullpen.

"I know we are very happy with the guys we have here and the guys who are going back (to the minors)," Maddon said. "But all of a sudden, you run into a guy you really dig on and have for years, and you think there might be some way to fit someone, you do."

The Cubs bullpen could benefit from another big arm or sinkerball specialist.

"It could be a bullpen guy or a utility player that is really valuable and does several different things," Maddon said. "As I said, we have got those guys. It would have to be somebody that really stands out, I believe."

The financial aspect is always top of mind when adding to a roster. The Cubs' current commitment to their 25-man roster is around $172 million, and the others on the 40-man roster add an additional few million. The Cubs front office will want to leave some payroll flexibility for late-summer additions ahead of the trade deadline as they look to make another run at a championship. The luxury tax threshold is $197 million. After factoring in possible roster bonuses and buyouts this season, the Cubs may feel comfortable in adding up to $8 million to $10 million more in salary and staying safely under the luxury tax.

The Cubs saved about $2.2 million with their recent release of reliever Justin Grimm. 

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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