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Thursday, March 27, 2014
Reaction: Olt, Kalish, Bonifacio make Cubs

By Jesse Rogers


 
MESA, Ariz. -- The Chicago Cubs announced their roster for position players is set. Third baseman Mike Olt made the team as did spring invitees Ryan Kalish and Emilio Bonifacio.

Mike Olt
Mike Olt now has a chance to prove he belongs in the Cubs' core.
What it means: At the very least the Cubs have a new potential core player in Olt as he'll get a shot to be their every-day third baseman. If he succeeds, it will have ramifications all over the organization. He's only 25 so he should be coming into his prime as the Cubs hope to turn into a winning team in the coming years. Olt has great power and seemingly hit every ball hard in spring games, even his outs. If he solidifies third base it could eventually move 2013 top pick Kris Bryant to the outfield. For now, it simply means he has a chance to grow with Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Welington Castillo and perhaps Junior Lake into the nucleus of a young Cubs team.

Just turning 26 on Friday, Kalish also has a chance to stick around. He plays baseball like a football player, with tremendous energy and speed. He was the Red Sox's rookie of the year as a July call-up in 2010 when he hit four home runs and stole 10 bases in 53 games.

Bonifacio may not be an every-day player, but at 28 years old he has a chance to stick around as a super utility guy. He's a switch hitter who can play the infield and outfield and has tremendous speed.

The lineup: Manager Rick Renteria will use his entire Cubs roster as much as ever starting next week. A lineup against a left-handed pitcher could have Bonifacio playing the outfield along with Junior Lake and Justin Ruggiano. The infield would consist of Rizzo, Darwin Barney, Castro and Olt.

Against a righty it's possible Kalish and Nate Schierholtz will be in there along with Luis Valbuena playing second or third base. It could change nearly every day.

What's next: The Cubs will announce their pitching staff in the next couple of days, including the early-season fifth starter. Chris Rusin and Carlos Villanueva have been battling for that spot all spring.