Chicago Cubs could take different approach to their outfield
In the 2015 season, the Chicago Cubs really struck gold with their acquisition of veteran center fielder and leadoff hitter, Dexter Fowler. While Fowler was never really known for his glove, he was underrated coming into the season in that regard.
Unfortunately, Fowler was in the last year of his contract and is now a free agent to sign with whomever he finds the right deal with. What is also unfortunate, with the season that Fowler did have (.250 batting average, a career-high of 17 home runs, 46 RBI and 20 stolen bases), he probably priced himself right out of the Cubs’ hands.
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The Chicago Cubs also have Albert Almora waiting in the wings to take over at center field, so it is highly unlikely that Fowler will return to Wrigley Field as a member of the Cubs.
But what if the Chicago Cubs do not think that Almora isn’t quite ready yet for the big league, and he could use a little more polishing in Triple A; who could take over the leadoff stop and center field for the Chicago Cubs?
As always, there are options in free agency – names like Jason Heyward, Denard Span and Gerardo Parra are available and could be attached to the Cubs with the rumor mills. Our editor, Jacob Misener, wrote a piece on Thursday about Heyward and the Cubs and how it would be a mistake. I would agree.
The amount of money and the length of the deal Heyward is seeking makes me think he just doesn’t fit into the Cubs’ plans long-term.
One name who isn’t a traditional center fielder or a leadoff hitter is Justin Upton. Like Heyward, he would command a large chunk of money and would probably want a contract length somewhere in the five to six-year mark.
Upton is a very powerful and talented player, but is he worth going away from the plan that has been set up and worked so well so far? No, he isn’t.
Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs could certainly go in an unconventional approach until Almora is ready to take over center field on and the leadoff spot for the Cubs on a daily basis. Jorge Soler could fill in nicely at center, leaving right field open for Kyle Schwarber to play everyday. Kris Bryant, who did play a handful of games in center, could also from time to time fill in.
The Chicago Cubs also have other options in their own farm system. Arismendy Alcantara with some more work, could fill in again in the ultimate utility role for the Cubs.
Matt Sczczur is another viable option for the Cubs – when he was healthy and was given an opportunity, he played well for the Cubs.
Of course, Chicago could also bring name an older name that could temporarily fill in for the time being, one who is familiar with the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field, David DeJesus.
At 36 years old, DeJesus would be an excellent addition to the young Cubs team and another veteran presence to help mold the young outfielders. He does have a club option worth $5 million that hasn’t been picked up yet, so he could be made available very easily.
He was also a popular player with the Chicago Cubs fans and was a great member to the Chicago community with his family’s charity work.
I do not see the Cubs investing a lot of money into center field, if that were to happen, Fowler would be brought back. I wouldn’t get your hopes up on a big amount of money being spent on any everyday players; those positions seem to be set, the Cubs will be spending what money they have on arms for the starting rotation and the pen.