Major League Baseball's regular season will wrap up Wednesday. There won't be much drama to be found as it pertains to the complexion of the playoff field. All 12 teams who will advance to the tournament have already clinched their spots and their seeds. Still, that doesn't mean playoff teams are left with nothing to think about between now and the official start of the postseason on Friday.
Rather, several teams have tough decisions to weigh about their postseason rosters. Some of those questions stem from health woes, and others from performance-related issues. Either way, CBS Sports has highlighted five notable players below whose statuses for their clubs' initial playoff rosters remain in doubt heading into Game 162. (Do note that the players are presented in alphabetical order.)
1. Francisco Álvarez, C/DH, New York Mets
Álvarez made his big-league debut only last weekend, but he's eligible for the postseason and the Mets might deem him a necessary addition to their playoff roster. Part of that is because Álvarez is a talented young catcher with game-changing power; part of it is because the Mets lack capable right-handed bats. The Mets are expected to be without starting outfielder Starling Marte for at least the Wild Card Series because of a broken finger. Deadline addition Darin Ruf is also injured, and he hasn't been effective since arriving in town. That leaves Álvarez as arguably the best candidate to serve as the Mets' designated hitter (or pinch-hitting option) when they face a lefty.
2. Aroldis Chapman, LHP, New York Yankees
The Yankees were reportedly considering cutting Chapman just a week-and-a-half ago, yet a slew of new and/or lingering bullpen injuries may leave them no choice but to roster him in October. To wit, New York is currently without Ron Marinaccio, Wandy Peralta, Zack Britton, and Clay Holmes, severely thinning their bullpen options ahead of the ALDS. Although Chapman is never going to resemble his old dominant self again, he's healthy and he's had a few successful outings as of late. That might be good enough.
3. Spencer Strider, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Strider, one of the most productive rookies in baseball this season, has been sidelined as of late with an oblique injury. General manager Alex Anthopoulos told the media on Tuesday that Strider remains a possibility to pitch for the Braves in the NLDS. (Second baseman Ozzie Albies, conversely, is viewed as a longshot.) Strider, then, was probably as happy as anyone about the Braves securing a first-round bye, as the additional days off could make the difference in his recovery and for his availability. The NLDS kicks off next Tuesday (Oct. 11).
4. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies, who face the Cardinals in this weekend's best-of-three Wild Card Series, are all but certain to roll into the postseason with a three-pitcher rotation of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Ranger Suárez. You can count on another starter, Bailey Falter, being part of their Wild Card Series bullpen; what about Syndergaard? The Phillies had him pitch in relief late last September with an eye on keeping him in a multi-inning role the rest of the season. Syndergaard was pushed back into the rotation this last week on account of the Phillies playing a doubleheader, yet the Phillies could still return to their original plans ahead of the postseason. Remember, they don't have to deem him a go-to option; just a better one than the likes of Chris Devenski or Nick Nelson, among other middle-relief types.
5. Blake Treinen, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Treinen hasn't pitched in a month because of shoulder soreness. He's expected to face hitters on Wednesday, and he remains a possibility for the Dodgers' NLDS roster, according to what manager Dave Roberts told The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya. (Dustin May is also attempting to work his way back to good health, though Roberts said he's not a lock even if he's fit.) Treinen has missed most of the season with arm trouble, but he would be a welcomed addition to the back of the Dodgers bullpen.