Sox, Cubs Prioritize Flexibility On Initial Rosters

By 670 The Score
(670 The Score) Both the White Sox and Cubs chose to retain ample flexibility in releasing their initial summer camp rosters as spring training 2.0 gets going with on-field workouts Friday.

While rosters are allowed to be up to 60 players, the White Sox will start with 44 players at camp while the Cubs begin with 50. The White Sox's group will all be training at Guaranteed Rate Field, as they haven't revealed their taxi squad yet. Of the Cubs' 50 players, 39 will train at Wrigley Field while another 11 -- highlighted by their top prospects -- will work at their Class-A affiliate facilities in South Bend. 

The reason for leaving open roster space is because it's easier to add a player than it is to add and remove a player, as Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer explained. Once a player is removed from the 60-man roster, he can't be reinstated. 

As time moves along and teams get a better understanding of their health situation and needs during the coronavirus pandemic, they'll add more players -- internally or externally by browsing waiver wires. The trade deadline in MLB's shortened 60-game season has been moved back to Aug. 31, while Sept. 15 is the cut-off date for adding a player and having him be eligible for the playoffs. 

The Cubs have already had preliminary discussions with other teams about trades, Hoyer said.

"That is part of the reason we stayed at 50 for our roster," Hoyer said. "We don't know yet how many players are going to be available. We don't know which teams will make guys available. But I anticipate there will be, so I think this is more a reason to stay flexible. We are not close to anything right now."

MLB teams fully expect unprecedented challenges and a daily roster churn in the unique circumstances of the pandemic and the possibility of positive COVID-19 tests sidelining their players.

"It's a 60-game sprint under unusual circumstances," Hoyer said. "We are going to have to be prepared for positive tests. We will have times that we have concerns about people and that also will keep them out. There are going to be injuries. This has been an unusual spring. Whenever you have unusual circumstances, you can expect higher rates of injuries.

"In terms of who will be successful this season, it will be based on teams that are super responsible and fortunate enough to avoid COVID outbreaks. Also, the teams that are able to avoid injuries. It will be a short season, but I look at it at the same time you have after the normal trade deadline. There will be ebbs and flows over 60 games, but it is a fast season, not a dead sprint. You will still have to think about ramping guys up and rest at the same time."

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