It might not be the type of Cubs rumors you’re hoping for, but it appears at least one team has interest in acquiring young Chicago infielder David Bote.
Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported this Cubs rumor in an article he wrote on Jan.12 discussing the Padres’ third base needs, saying in turn that San Diego had “explored” a deal for third baseman David Bote, amongst others.
Bote assumed the third base duties for Chicago in July with Kris Bryant still ailing from a shoulder injury and immediately made an impact. The 25-year-old hit .458 with a pair of homers and a 1.355 OPS on the month.
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He also showed a flair for the dramatic, hitting three homers in the ninth inning to tie or win games, including a historic walk-off grand slam against the Washington Nationals in mid-August.
But for all of his heroics at the plate, Bote’s greatest asset is his glove. In 375 innings at the hot corner, Bote posted a 13.4 UZR/150 with five defensive runs saved.
With good range and a very strong throwing arm, Bote rates very highly as a premium defender in the league and has shown he can perform at the big-league level, which should appeal to a Padres club that (right now) would start Ty France at third base.
Now or never for the Cubs?
This might be Chicago’s opportunity to capitalize on Bote’s value while it still remains somewhat high. His struggles at the plate in August and September are not good looks, but his defense and solid performance in leveraged situations make him an enticing option for a lot of rebuilding clubs like the Padres.
Ideally, the Cubs might even look to package Bote with Addison Russell, but with top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. nearly ready to break into the majors for the Padres, that seems highly unlikely right now.
San Diego may be unlikely to give up Strahm considering he still has a year of team control in 2019 before entering arbitration next season.
But Yates and Stammen both make under $4 million a season, with the former heading into the last year of his contract. The Cubs could look to deal Bote and considerations for Yates without hampering their current or future payroll.
Many Cubs fans would hate to see Bote go, but they have more immediate needs than retaining a backup third baseman. Bryant will return to the lineup, the Cubs added some depth with Daniel Descalso and Ian Happ can also play third.
In short, Bote’s value will likely be wasted by another season spent mostly on the bench. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may look to capitalize by grabbing a bullpen arm for Bote instead.