The Chicago Cubs have set their roster for their NLDS showdown with the St. Louis Cardinals, and while 24 of the players that were there against Pittsburgh are on the list again, there is one notable change.
The team has opted to bring Jason Hammel onto the roster, as could be expected, but the player they chose to cut in favor of the veteran starter is a bit surprising: Quintin Berry.
While Berry isn’t exactly a household name, he represents a player that many teams will make a point of carrying on their postseason roster. He is the fastest player that the Cubs have at their disposal, and in a game where going from first to third on a play or stealing a base can often mean the difference between winning and losing, having a pinch-runner of his caliber is a luxury that many teams will choose to hold onto.
In the Cubs’ case however, there really wasn’t another position player worth dropping to keep Berry. Guys like Chris Denorfia have proven to be big contributors as pinch-hitters, and players like Austin Jackson, Javier Baez, and Tommy La Stella are all capable of coming into games as defensive substitutions late in games.
The Cubs are also likely holding onto an extra pitcher in case Kyle Hendricks’ start doesn’t go well in Game 2, or if Jon Lester has to pitch on short rest in Game 4. That would allow Joe Maddon to empty out the bullpen if necessary, giving him flexibility to go after specific matchups and playing percentages if he wants to.
Here is the full roster for the Cubs in the NLDS:
Pitchers: Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Clayton Richard, Fernando Rodney, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Travis Wood
Catchers:Miguel Montero, David Ross
Infielders:Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Tommy La Stella, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell
Outfielders:Chris Coghlan, Chris Denorfia, Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler