Chicago Cubs: How would Bryce Harper signing impact other outfielders?

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Shifting back to natural positions

Think of Harper in the outfield. That eats up one of the eight spots on the diamond on a daily basis. At the very least, Addison Russell will not be a part of the infield for at least the first 40 games of the season, meaning Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant will see a lot more time back in the infield.

That’s the opposite of some recent trends. At the end of the 2018 season, Bryant spent a lot of time in the outfield to facilitate getting Daniel Murphy and David Bote into the lineup.

In 2018, Zobrist played more outfield than infield for the first time since 2012. However, unless the Cubs acquire another middle infielder during the offseason or prioritize making Happ or Bote the second baseman of both the present and future, pencil Zobrist in as the Cubs’ 2019 Opening Day second baseman.

If Russell is welcomed back to the Cubs after his suspension is over, Zobrist might start playing in the outfield again. The biggest reason to play either Bryant or Zobrist in the outfield would be to stack the lineup with right-handed batters against a left-handed starting pitcher.