Chicago Cubs: What happens at first base if Anthony Rizzo goes down?
By Jake Misener
Chicago Cubs’ skipper well-adapted to such situations
It’s hard to imagine another Major League manager better suited to handle the loss of a guy like Rizzo than the Cubs’ Maddon. Last year, per usual, he shifted players around the diamond on a fairly regular basis – though not quite as much as 2016.
Caratini, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Tommy La Stella, Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist all saw at least one rep at first last year. Rather than adding infield depth via free agency, Chicago may opt to stay in-house. Moving these aforementioned guys around gives the Cubs a solution that gets guys reps and utilizes familiarity, as well.
In my mind, if the Cubs lost Rizzo and for some reason, Caratini isn’t on the roster, this is the probable course of action. Zobrist could slot in here and probably handle things without much of a defensive hiccup. That also gives him a path to more playing time. Right now, he seems poised to serve as a backup/fourth outfielder heading into 2018.
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This is certainly a worst-case scenario for the Chicago Cubs. While the annual MVP praise is heaped upon Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo quietly goes about his business year after year. Losing him could be a disaster, but the team might just have enough in the tank to survive – even without their stud first baseman.