Chicago Cubs: Who should get the reps at second base?

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

The Chicago Cubs haven’t gotten much out of their second baseman this year – but at a certain point, you have to pick your poison and hope for the best.

Entering the season, despite a lack of offseason moves, the Chicago Cubs seemed to have plenty of depth at second base – with guys who appeared poised to put up some big numbers.

With the low-key addition of Daniel Descalso, along with David Bote, Ben Zobrist, and even Addison Russell, second base didn’t look like a problem area for the club. If you were to tell me that at this point in the year our options have turned into Robel Garcia, Bote and Russell, with Descalso so bad he’s lucky to get more than two at-bats a week, I’d be shocked.

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Throw in Zobrist’s off-field matters and here we are – desperate for any type of regular production from second base. If the front office dedicates their assets elsewhere at the deadline, the Cubs need to give one of these guys the majority of the reps. My vote goes to Bote.

It’s unrealistic to count on a Zobrist return this year, and even if he does come back, what kind of player are we going to get? He’s been away from the game for months at this point.

Ian Happ is another name that has been linked to second base, and as fans await his call-up, I would bet there’s a better chance he’s on the move than there is for him to start turning double plays with Javy Baez.

With the choices the Cubs currently have, I would love to have Bote as our primary option with Garcia filling in every few days as a spark plug. We saw what the Brewers did a year ago, moving third baseman Travis Shaw to second – despite his lack of experience there. The blueprint is there – and it can work – Milwaukee advanced to Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.

Sure, Bote hasn’t been his best this year, batting .254 with an OPS of .769 through 86 games, but he is the most logical option for this team right now. Signing a five-year, $15 million dollar extension at the beginning of the year, Bote is locked up long-term and the Cubs need to see what they have moving forward. The only way that works? Reps.

Using Garcia like the Cubs have so far would be ideal for the club. New to the big leagues, the rookie is batting .290 with a 1.098 OPS through his first dozen games. He has been a pleasant surprise to this point and using him in a limited capacity may give Joe Maddon a key bat off the bench in big spots, allowing him to set Garcia up for success.

Making him the second option behind Bote, while experimenting with him in the outfield on occasion seems like the ideal scenario. I know we all want to see more of Garcia, but the way he is currently utilized is perfect.

Heading into the most important stretch of the season, the Cubs need to find some consistency at second. Russell is making rookie mistakes in his fifth full season. His average of .243 and .730 OPS has cast a shadow over some of the unacceptable things he has done on the field this year. If the Cubs can’t find a new home for him, spending some time in Iowa would be great for both sides.

Along with Russell, Descalso is the other option that has been nothing short of disappointing. On a two-year, $5 million deal, the veteran is batting .184 with a -1.1 WAR. With such limited playing time due to poor results, he is doing nothing to deserve a roster spot at this point.

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We’ve heard plenty of rumors connecting the Cubs to pitchers and outfielders in the weeks leading up to the deadline. When the dust settles, Chicago might opt to roll the dice with this group at second base. We can only hope they get more production down the stretch than they have to this point because, right now, there’s a gaping hole in the lineup on a near-daily basis.