Cubs should consider Sam Fuld over Nick Swisher and Jonny Gomes


With plenty of time to add more talent to their 25-man roster before reporting to training camp in February, the Chicago Cubs could find themselves a solid veteran to help anchor the outfield – something that has been oft-rumored all offseason long.

In a recent transaction, the Cubs dealt center fielder Justin Ruggiano to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a young pitching prospect who will surely fit in well with this club’s bullpen in the future. As expected, this team has been linked to a number of players across the league including guys such as Nick Swisher and Jonny Gomes. The two men are very familiar with Joe Maddon as they battled against him countless times as members of the New York Yankees (Swisher) and the Boston Red Sox (Gomes) in the American League East.

More from Chicago Cubs News

It’s no secret that the Cleveland Indians could be looking to move Swisher after acquiring Brandon Moss from the Oakland Athletics, which means having to move the rest of his $30 million. Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t be all that bad of an idea to bring him on board considering the fact that he’s had some playing time at first base, but the injuries and lack of productivity of late (.208/.278/.331 slash line in 2014) make him too much of a liability – especially at $30 million.

Now, back in July, the Cubs and the Oakland Athletics struck a deal that involved Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel heading to the West Coast in exchange for prospects Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily. With Oakland GM Billy Beane cleaning house during the offseason, a more cost-effective option for Chicago could be Jonny Gomes, who would be reunited with former teammates Jon Lester and David Ross in the Windy City.

Gomes, 34, appears to be more feasible than Swisher for several reasons. Apart from his aforementioned ties to Lester, Ross and former Cubs’ right-hander Ryan Dempster – all of whom helped the Red Sox win a World Series two years ago, Gomes has shown his capabilities at the dish. In 2013, he launched 13 home runs, driving in 52 runs on a batting line of .247/.344/.426. However, at least offensively, Gomes seemed to take a step backward in 2014 between Boston and Oakland.

Another Oakland outfielder, Sam Fuld, could also emerge as a low-cost option for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, who are likely looking to fill the gap between 2015 and the likes of McKinney and Albert Almora, who are making their way through the system. Fuld lacks the power behind his bat when compared to both Swisher and Gomes, but his price tag wouldn’t hurt the Cubs nearly as much. Fuld, 33, signed a minor league deal (1-yr, $800k) with the Athletics back in January of last year but was later designated for assignment.

Shortly after being designated by Oakland, the Minnesota Twins claimed him off waivers where he played 53 games with the organization. His run with the Twins wouldn’t last long as he was traded back to the Athletics on July 31 in exchange for pitcher Tommy Milone.

During his split year with both American League franchises, Fuld hit four home runs with 36 RBI on a batting line of .236/.316/.334 to go along with a .969 fielding percentage. Since leaving Chicago in a trade for Matt Garza, Fuld has turned himself into a solid defensive player and a threat on the base paths. Last season he recorded a career-high 21 stolen bases and was only caught once.

While the former Cubs draft pick Fuld is a more affordable option, the team is reportedly seeking a veteran bat that has experience winning. The main detractor for Chicago pursuing him is simple: although he has postseason experience, he hasn’t been a leader on a winning club. Nevertheless, he remains a semi-attractive option heading into 2015.

Next: David Ross signs two-year deal with Cubs