Cubs set spring roster, including 18 invitees

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs on Friday released their spring training roster, which includes 58 players, 18 of whom are non-roster invitees.

Top catching prospect Willson Contreras will attend his first big-league camp with the Cubs along with offseason additions such as Jason Heyward and John Lackey.

The spring invitees include 10 pitchers: Stephen Fife, Brandon Gomes, Jean Machi, Felix Pena, Jonathan Pettibone, Armando Rivero, Drew Rucinski, Duane Underwood, Luiz Cruz and Jack Leathersich.

Three infielders have been invited: Munenori Kawasaki, Jesus Guzman and Kristopher Negron. Three outfielders got invites: Albert Almora, John Andreoli and Juan Perez. Two catchers will join in big-league camp: Taylor Davis and Tim Federowicz.

Players not on the 40-man roster and those brought in from outside the organization can be invited to big-league camp. The Cubs' first draft pick of 2015, Ian Happ, was not invited and will participate in minor-league camp instead.

In the past, players such as Chris Coghlan and Jonathan Herrera saw significant playing time after attending spring training as non-roster players, but this season it will be much more difficult for an invitee to make the trip back to Chicago in April. The Cubs are much deeper.

The following position players are locks to make the team: Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler, Chris Coghlan, Tommy La Stella, Javier Baez, David Ross and Miguel Montero.

Assuming the Cubs carry 13 position players, that leaves one spot open for either an infielder or outfielder. With Baez getting experience in the outfield this winter, the Cubs probably would need another infielder, though holdover Matt Szczur might be an enticing choice for his defensive prowess in the outfield. Arismendy Alcantara is looking for a bounce-back year, so his versatility could be in play as well.

There will be even tighter competition on the pitching staff. Based on the end of last season here are the favorites to make the team: Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks, Adam Warren, Travis Wood, Clayton Richard, Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon. That leaves the likes of Neil Ramirez, Rex Brothers, Zac Rosscup and CJ Edwards fighting to unseat one or more of those names. The Cubs also could keep 13 pitchers or send one of the relievers to the minors as a starter. They have options as long as all are healthy.

Pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Arizona, on Feb.19 with full squad workouts beginning on Feb. 24.