He was the feel-good story of last season. But what’s in store for the Chicago Cubs David Bote later in the season once Addison Russell returns?
David Bote delivered what turned out to be the crushing blow in the Cubs’ win over the Miami Marlins on Monday.
He ripped a bases-loaded double through the left side of the infield in the first inning to score Javier Baez and Jason Heyward. It gave the Cubs the early 3-0 lead, provided an early cushion for Yu Darvish and ultimately scored the game-winning run as the Cubs won 7-2.
It’s not Bote’s first experience delivering clutch hits. Everyone remembers his iconic walk-off grand slam last season, and the Bote magic was on display often throughout his first season in the big leagues last year. He earned a spot on the 25-man roster to open 2019.
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
- Cubs: P.J. Higgins deserves to be in the lineup on a daily basis
But as good of a story as Bote has been, his future with the Cubs still seems a little uncertain.
Starting off strong
Bote is off to a decent start to 2019, having made the Opening Day roster for the first time after spending parts of seven seasons in the minor leagues. He’s batting .258 with a .343 on-base percentage and one home run. He’s played in all but one game, mostly at second base with a few starts at third. And he’s off to a better start offensively than both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
He joined the extension frenzy at the beginning of the season, signing a five-year, $15 million deal on April 3. It’s not a bad deal for a guy who spent so long in the minors and isn’t necessarily guaranteed an everyday role going forward.
But where to next?
As good of a deal as it seemed for Bote, the extension puzzled some people. Bote doesn’t have a ton of experience at the big league level, and you could argue he’s still got a lot to prove. Not to mention, once shortstop Addison Russell returns, Bote’s opportunities to contribute could be few and far between.
Russell is serving his 40-game suspension now but will likely return on May 1. When that happens, he’s likely to reassume the role of everyday shortstop. That means Javier Baez moves over to play second base every day—where Bote has been playing often this season. So it’s hard to see him having an everyday role by the end of the month.
Bote still has a lot going for him, thanks to his ability to play all over the field. He played third while Bryant was out last season, and has gotten a little time in the outfield. So he’s a valuable utility guy to have. But if Russell comes out and plays his best, it’s hard to see Bote continuing to hold down an everyday role—no matter how much some people may think he’s earned it.
Bote will never not be a great story. Who doesn’t love a guy who grinded through the minor leagues for years to finally earn a spot with the big league club, and then delivered one of the best moments of the 2018 MLB season? But it’s hard to deny his future’s still in question, and he’ll continue to have something to prove going forward—not that that’s anything he isn’t used to.