There was a certain amount of urgency for the Cubs this offseason to address their very obvious holes in the outfield.
With Alfonso Soriano being shopped around the league, David DeJesus entering the last year of his contract and Brett Jackson still having contact issues at the plate, there is no sure-fire solution to the problem. In fact, it’s safe to assume that there are more problems than viable solutions at the moment!
While this is obviously of concern to the fans, the Cubs’ brass have made a rather conservative move to address it by signing OF Nate Schierholtz to a 1 year/$2.25 million deal with an additional $500,000 in performance incentives.
This may not be the impact move that Cubs’ fans were looking for, but it’s certainly a smart move based on value. Frankly, the deal stinks of Theo’s trademark buy low/high potential vibe.
Schierholtz boasted a .257/.321/.407 triple slash in 2012 as a utility player for both the Giants and Phillies. This is indicative of his natural abilities at the plate, but don’t expect him to be an offensive powerhouse. Schierholtz is more likely to be used strategically for his left handed bat – something the Cubs lack. Pending injuries, you can expect him to put up at least 300 AB and produce slightly better than average offensive metrics.
With batting being only half of the game, Schierholtz produces on the defensive side of the field as well. His metrics suggest he’s slightly above average for most corner outfielders, but certainly nothing to write home about. He’ll serve as a right fielder which will bump David DeJesus to center.
You may be wondering, why such high praises for what is a run-of-the-mill outfielder who wont crack super stardom anytime soon?
The idea behind this deal is simply to plug a hole for cheap with a guy who can eat a lot of playing time. Schierholtz is consistent, has a steady bat and was signed for cheap. Considering the Cubs aren’t going to be aggressive contenders in 2013, Schierholtz is the ideal addition considering the short nature of his contract and his role within the team.
Couldn’t the Cubs have saved their cash and taken a gamble on Dave Sappelt? Wouldn’t that be essentially the same thing?
In theory yes, but Schierholtz brings major league experience to the team whereas Sappelt still has much development to undertake. You never want to throw a kid in to the game, struggle, and have his confidence be shot.
$2.25 million is chump change for a guy who alleviates one of the Cubs’ biggest problems. It’s simply a spot patch on the impending flood, but it should hold for 2013.