Chicago Cubs: Are Addison Russell or Daniel Descalso worth a spot?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The offseason for the Chicago Cubs was one of many questions. Why are they not spending money? Their tight budget led them to add only one position player. Was it the right one?

The Chicago Cubs signed Daniel Descalso to a two-year deal worth only $5 million, with a club option for 2021. Addison Russell was suspended for 40 games for his domestic abuse allegations. Neither player has impressed, and both are borderline unplayable offensively. Can the Cubs justify keeping both of them on the roster?

Descalso has longevity in his corner, as this is his ninth full season in the big leagues, playing for St. Louis, Colorado, and Arizona. He had his best year last season, with a 111 wRC+ and a career high in home runs with 13.

This season is a different story. His slash line is just .187/.288/.281, a .568 OPS and 55 wRC+. Jon Lester has a .569 OPS as a pitcher. Descalso is batting .091 over his last 30 games, and has produced -2 Defensive Runs Saved in the field as a Cub.

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Russell is slashing .236/.300/.382, a 76 wRC+. His career wRC+ is 87, and Descalso’s is 83. Both players can’t play every day with those offensive numbers, but defense is where they are set apart.

Russell has posted three DRS at second and two DRS at short. But could a bum wrist be affecting his everyday play? That’s another story, entirely.

In his career, he has posted 59 DRS as a shortstop. Russell has value defensively, and he’s very good at two positions. That may justify giving him a roster spot, however, with his off-field issues, Cubs fans likely won’t lose any sleep if Russell is the player the Cubs decide to part with.

Second base has been a black hole for the Cubs offensively this season, but David Bote has more home runs than both players combined, with nine. His 117 wRC+ is everyday player worthy, and Bote’s three DRS at second base shows he’s a good fielder. Bote very well may be the answer as the long-term second baseman.

With the trade deadline approaching, and the Cubs looking to add more bullpen arms, and maybe some position players, depending on what is available, the front office very well may have a decision to make when it comes to the roster spots of Russell and Descalso. Descalso makes so little money that it wouldn’t hurt the Cubs to soak up the money from his deal.

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Russell is only in his first arbitration year, so the front office can designate him and not have too much money to soak up from him either. The Chicago Cubs’ love to pitch to contact, and don’t miss many bats. For defensive purposes, Russell might be the guy the Cubs choose to keep if the decision to cut one of the two ever comes to pass.

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