There’s no questioning the talent the Chicago Cubs and their young core possess. But adding a key veteran is something that could push the club over the top.
As we dive deeper into the offseason, we are still very uncertain of what the Chicago Cubs will do. The club has an excellent core as is, but as the rest of the league improves, it’s important that Theo Epstein and his staff look externally to help this group.
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There are a lot of areas the Cubs need improvement in, but I believe the most important is the offense. A group that can be so inconsistent needs some stability in the lineup. The Daniel Murphy addition helped add some consistency at the end of 2018, but the team was ranked 29th in the MLB in games with one or fewer runs and that needs to change.
A consistent veteran presence up the middle
Four-time All-Star Ian Kinsler, a 37-year-old second baseman, is a consistent veteran presence the Cubs need in their clubhouse. That may seem old, but championship experience is something that is extremely undervalued in today’s day and age, and it is something Kinsler has a lot of.
Kinsler has played in 11 postseason series (including three World Series), batting .274 with a .369 on-base percentage and .786 OPS. The numbers are pretty self-explanatory, as he rakes in the playoffs.
The veteran has been in the big moment and has shown it’s not too big for him. His postseason experience could pay huge dividends for this team, as he could be a great leader for the young stars in Chicago.
With a potential void to fill at second, Kinsler would be the perfect fit for this team. He can man second with Zobrist and that way, both can have adequate rest and stay fresh. The Cubs need a consistent bat in their lineup, and they need someone who can show up in October. Ian Kinsler checks both of those boxes.
A younger Zobrist-type piece with playoff experience
Part of the 2017 Houston Astros World Series team, Marwin Gonzalez (29) can really do it all. He plays any position (all infield and both right and left field) and can produce at the plate too.
We know how much Joe Maddon loves to get creative with his lineups, and having a super utility guy in Gonzalez would be huge. In seven seasons, Marwin has hit .264 with a .737 OPS. He is comfortable all over the field, has some pop at the plate (average of 15 home runs a year), and has championship experience from his time in Houston.
With Zobrist in the final year of his deal, locking up a guy like Gonzalez, who can learn from the veteran, would be a great move for the present and the future.
Turning to a familiar face
LeMahieu is a familiar face in the Cubs organization. In 2011, the Cubs dealt him (along with Tyler Colvin) to Colorado for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers. Flash forward to 2018, and he would be a great fit to come back to Chicago to play second base.
LeMahieu hits for average, and the Cubs don’t have a lot of guys that do that. In eight MLB seasons, he has batted .298 and led the league in 2016 with a .348 average.
The former Rockies infielder can hit, and to have this kind of production to place around all the power in the Cubs lineup would make this offense so much more well-rounded. With a career WAR of 3.0, LeMahieu should be someone the Cubs seriously consider this offseason.
There is no quick fix to this Cubs offense, but adding just one of these three players this offseason would help improve this team so much. There’s a lot of options for the Cubs, so let’s hope they make a move to show the fans they’re in championship mode.