Chicago Cubs: New addition Daniel Descalso off to a strong start

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

Back in the offseason, Chicago Cubs fans were undoubtedly hoping for a big splash in free agency. Instead, the Cubs went out and signed veteran utility man, Daniel Descalso, who has been a pleasant surprise early in the season.

In recent years with all the Chicago Cubs significant acquisitions and spending, the signing of Daniel Descalso usually would have gone under the radar. But when he turned out to be the Cubs biggest free agent signing of the winter, fans were not happy.

The signing became somewhat of a punchline as fans were expecting the Cubs to land highly coveted free agent Bryce Harper. At the very least the fans were hoping for some bullpen help. However, the Cubs were hamstrung due to their tight budget and failed to make a splash.

So the Cubs turned to the 10-year-veteran Descalso. The former Arizona Diamondback was signed to a two-year deal worth $5 million, which also includes a club option for the 2021 season.

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Descalso was brought in to replace the Cubs former pinch-hitting extraordinaire Tommy La Stella, who was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in the off-season. While La Stella became a fan favorite, who came up with hits in some big spots, he was used mostly as a pinch-hitter and didn’t play much in the field. Descalso will find himself in the starting lineup much more than La Stella did and can play multiple positions on the diamond.

Descalso starts red-hot

In the first three games he started for the Cubs, Descalso got off to a blazing start. The left-hander was a blistering 8-13 at the plate to the tune of a .615 batting average. He recorded two extra-base hits, one being a home run while driving in four RBIs and scoring four runs.

On the year as a whole, the veteran utility-infielder has looked great at the plate. He’s recorded nine hits and is carrying a .346 batting average, which is good for second-best on the team thus far. While it’s certainly still early in the year – only nine games into the young season – his batting average is more than 100 points higher than his career batting average of .241.

Not only has he been hitting but he’s been getting on base. Descalso has a .414 on-base percentage which is way above his career average of .325. That’s led to him scoring seven runs already early in the season.

Throughout an entire season those numbers probably aren’t sustainable for Descalso, but it has been an impressive start nonetheless. If he continues to impress early on, he will continue to see ample playing time in the lineup, especially in the absence of Addison Russell. It will be interesting to see what happens in terms of playing time when Russell returns if Descalso is still playing at a high-level. But we’ll cross that road when we get to it.

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The Cubs were ridiculed for their acquisition of Descalso, which really was unwarranted. Based on their limited budget, the Cubs did the best they could with the money they had, and it seems to have paid off early on. He has exceeded any expectations that the fans have had for him and has turned out to be a great move for the Cubs.