The Chicago Cubs continued to be linked to seemingly every free agent, and Denard Span is another on that list. Do the Cubs need him? And would he fit?
When the Chicago Cubs inked Jason Heyward to the megadeal this winter many thought it could spell the end for Jorge Soler–similar to how the Starlin Castro deal played out. But Theo Epstein has backed Soler for his work ethic this offseason, and that he expects him to be a key piece of the team’s future.
Soler’s injuries, suspect defense and swing-and-miss approach at the plate have been his negatives, but he brings more positives to the fold. Having his power in the lineup adds another threat the team wouldn’t have if he was traded and Heyward played right. It would be assumed the team would add a high-average on-base guy–like Span—as opposed to a power hitter. And you also still have Dexter Fowler out there, who’s hoping to land a big free agent deal–but has said he’d love to return to the Cubs if possible. If
And you also still have Dexter Fowler out there, who’s hoping to land a big free agent deal–but has said he’d love to return to the Cubs if possible. If he doesn’t get his deal, would he consider less to come back and play for the “World Series favorites”? I suppose it isn’t out of the question.
But could Span bring something different to the table? After missing most of last season with a myriad of injuries, his agent Scott Boras says he’s resumed baseball activities and is running full speed. A career .287 hitter who has stolen at least 20 bases four times in his career he could be a solid leadoff man. But he’s also a Boras client, and they tend not to be on the “discounted” side of free agents.
With Javier Baez testing the waters this offseason in center field, the Cubs could simply save that money for a center fielder and use it elsewhere, relying on Heyward, Baez and possibly another tossed into the mix to hold things down.
Whichever route the Cubs decide to go, they’re in a good position. As is, my opinion is that Heyward can handle the duties just fine this season and next. He’s only 26, and he could develop into a solid center fielder in time. But with a few months till Spring Training, it’s anybody’s guess at this point.