Chicago Cubs sign Mike Freeman to a minor league deal
By Ryan Tadych
As the Chicago Cubs head into the stretch run, they bolstered their roster by signing an infielder who provides some depth at shortstop.
With Addison Russell on the disabled list, Javier Baez took over as the primary shortstop. The Chicago Cubs don’t have an obvious back-up for Baez though. That is why the Cubs signed infielder Mike Freeman to a minor-league deal.
This is purely a depth move for the Cubs. The in-house options are slim at shortstop. While Russell is not expected to miss more than 10 days, Freeman provides some depth in case of further injuries. Unfortunately, Freeman doesn’t provide much with his bat.
At 30 years old, Freeman is a career .123 hitter with one home run and two runs batted in. In just his second year at the big-league level, Freeman has just 63 plate appearances but is already on his fourth big league team. Struggling to stick on a big-league roster, Freeman has a career WAR of -0.8 and is unlikely to get much of an opportunity with the Cubs.
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At best, Freeman could be a September call-up. If the Cubs are fully healthy, he likely isn’t getting much playing time though. With guys passing through waivers in August, it’s not uncommon for contending teams to sign a few guys as depth options in case of injury.
What’s a bit intriguing about this signing is that Freeman has only played two big leagues games (twelve innings) at shortstop. His primary positions are third and first base. Yet, the Cubs are searching for depth at shortstop in case Russell misses more time than expected. In 20 games with the Mariners and Dodgers this season, Freeman is slashing .057/.154/.143 with one home run in 35 at-bats.
Freeman hasn’t really been given much of an opportunity to succeed at the big-league level. However, he hasn’t really proven much in the time that he has spent in the majors. Having been drafted three separate times (2006, 2009, 2010) shows that he is not a well-regarded prospect. Freeman’s rookie status is still in tact. He made his big league debut in July of 2016.
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Again, I would be surprised if he gets much of an opportunity with the Cubs. He could be a separate call-up but still likely won’t get many chances. This is merely a depth move for the Cubs. Expect to see a few more of these types of moves before rosters expand on September 1st.