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Cubs Roster Breakdown: Who's Staying, Who's Going?

By Chris Emma

(CBS) In the aftermath of Wednesday's Game 4 defeat and sweep in the NLCS at the hands of the Mets, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein called the team together for a toast.

Raising their glasses, the Cubs celebrated a sensational season, which saw 97 regular-season wins, an NLDS victory over the rival Cardinals and so many triumphs along the way. The Cubs have plenty to savor from 2015, even if it ended so soon, shy of the World Series.

But now, Epstein must go back to work. The Cubs figure to be a popular pick to win the World Series in 2016, but they'll need more complementary pieces around the ballclub's young core of talent. For all the long-term stability, Epstein must build around the names like Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta and more, putting this team in position to win it all.

Let's look at where the roster stands entering this offseason. Contract status was pulled from

Starting pitching

Jon Lester
Status: Signed through 2020, with a team option for 2021
Note: Lester was paid handsomely last offseason to be a top-end pitcher for the Cubs' window of success.

Jake Arrieta
Status: Arbitration eligible now, under team control through 2017
Note: The Cubs will work diligently in an attempt to lock down their ace long term. Through arbitration, he'll make much more than the $3.63 million he earned in 2015.

Jason Hammel
Status: Signed through 2016
Note: While Theo Epstein backed Hammel on Thursday, the starter's struggles are a great concern.

Kyle Hendricks
Status: Under team control through 2020
Note: Ideally, Hendricks would be an effective back-end starter instead of the Cubs' No. 3 man.

Relief pitching

Travis Wood
Details: Arbitration eligible now, under team control through 2016
Note: Wood settled nicely into a bullpen role in 2015, but it's unclear what his future holds.

Jason Motte
Details: Free agent
Note: While Motte had his moments out of the bullpen, he's 33 and was injured late. He's likely headed elsewhere.

Pedro Strop
Details: Arbitration eligible now, under team control through 2017
Note: Still relatively young in his career, Strop has become a trusted arm in the bullpen.

Tommy Hunter
Details: Free agent
Note: A rental from Baltimore, Hunter's time in Chicago is probably done.

Fernando Rodney
Status: Free agent
Note: The Cubs found Rodney on the scrap heap and got production. If he's cheap, he could be back.

Hector Rondon
Status: Arbitration eligible now, under team control through 2018
Note: In short time, Rondon emerged as a consistent closer, something the team has desired for years.

Justin Grimm
Status: Arbitration eligible now, under team control through 2019
Note: Grimm became a solid middle reliever who the Cubs value.

Trevor Cahill
Status: Free agent
Note: While Cahill pitched well in the stretch run, it was only a month. His return is uncertain.

Neil Ramirez
Status: Under team control least 2020
Note: He's another reliable relief arm for the Cubs.

Clayton Richard
Status: Arbitration eligible
Note: The Cubs gave Richard a chance, and he excelled. It's unclear what's next.


Miguel Montero
Status: Signed through 2017
Note: Montero's a strong defender, but his future may rest on Kyle Schwarber's development at catcher. If Schwarber grabs that job, Montero could be a trade candidate.

Kyle Schwarber
Status: Under team control through 2021
Note: Schwarber's untouchable, but does his future lie at catcher or in the outfield?

David Ross
Details: Signed through 2016
Note: Next season could be the last for Ross.


Anthony Rizzo
Status: Signed through 2019, with team options for 2020 and 2021
Note: Rizzo's untouchable and will eventually get really big money.

Kris Bryant
Stauts: Under team control through 2021
Status: He's a cornerstone for the Cubs' future. The only question is whether he'll play third base or the outfield in long term.

Starlin Castro
Status: Signed through 2019, with a team option for 2020
Note: With Castro's value up a bit after a big September, the Cubs could deal him this offseason.

Addison Russell
Status: Under team control through 2021
Note: Russell got better as his rookie season progressed.

Javier Baez
Status: Under team control through 2021
Note: While Baez may be a trade piece, the Cubs seem to like his power for the future.

Tommy La Stella
Details: Under team control through 2020
Note: La Stella became a key asset for Joe Maddon's lineup.

Jonathan Herrera
Details: Arbitration eligible
Note: A great teammate, Herrera lost his role late in the season.


Dexter Fowler
Details: Free agent
Note: Epstein hopes to talk with Fowler, but the Cubs may move to another center fielder. He was working under a $9.5 million deal in 2015 and will desire more than that annually in free agency.

Jorge Soler
Details: Under contract through 2020
Note: He may come up in trade discussions, but the Cubs will have to think long and hard before moving him because of his power potential.

Chris Denorfia
Details: Free agent
Note: Denorfia was solid, but the Cubs may simply not have room for him.

Chris Coghlan
Status: Arbitration eligible, under team control through 2016
Note: Coghlan could make a quality fourth outfielder for the Cubs, as his regular playing time looks to be done.

Austin Jackson
Details: Free agent
Note: Jackson was a rental who will likely move on elsewhere.

Matt Szczur
Status: Under team control through 2017
Note: In time, Szczur has become expendable.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.

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