Chicago Cubs lack a quality second baseman heading into second half

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

With Javier Baez shifting from second base to shortstop full-time this year, the Chicago Cubs have taken a huge step backward on the right side of the infield.

The All-Star Break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Chicago Cubs. The team is flat, dead, boring, and for the talent on the lineup sheet, embarrassing. The king of embarrassment has been whoever finds themselves manning second base.

All-Star shortstop Javier Baez played over 100 games at second last year and helped the second base platoon slash .292/.341/.486 with an OPS of .827, making it one of the most productive positions on the Cubs. This season has seen a drastically different tale at the second base position.

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Second base has been home to five players over the first 89 games this year. Those players are Robel Garcia, David Bote, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell and Daniel Descalso. Not a bad list of names to choose from, right?

Garcia has played once at second and looked good. Bote has also performed at a productive level. No complaints as of now for either of them.

Descalso and Zobrist have lower slugging percentages than on-base percentages. I didn’t know it was possible to do that as an MLB caliber baseball player. Zobrist has had a tough go off the field and hasn’t played since early May, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt there. As for Descalsco, there are no words.

And last but not least, we come to Russell. The organization has done so much for the former top prospect. Through the lowest of personal lows, the Cubs remained faithful to him. They did not cut Russell when they probably should have and stuck with him through all of that and his poor play.

The 25-year-old infielder Russell hasn’t lived up to the promising offensive potential he showed back in 2016. That year, he set career-highs with 21 home runs and 95 RBI. But since then, he’s managed a .379 slugging percentage to go along with a disappointing 81 OPS+, leaving more than a little to be desired at the dish.

Simply put, it’s hard to get so little production out of so many different options at second. The Cubs’ second basemen produce like they have Tony Campana‘s power with Adam Dunn‘s speed and on-base percentage. It would be hard to get much worse from where they are now.

What will the Cubs do? For starters, play Bote at second. Bote doesn’t need to play third. For those of you that have forgotten, we actually have an All-Star and former NL MVP more than capable of handing the hot corner. For the days Bote cannot play second, trade for someone like Jonathan Villar. Villar is slashing .259/.336/.421 with an OPS of .747 this season on a lowly Baltimore team.

Villar is not an All-Star talent, but with the Cubs’ farm system as weak as it is, the organization cannot afford to trade for a high-end player. The Orioles are on pace to lose over 100 games so they will not need him either.

Next. Are the Cubs ready to move on from Schwarber in left?. dark

The biggest change in production by position over the last two years has come from second base. They have failed to produce at a mediocre level and for the cubs to turn this season around we need to see offensive production out of this spot.