How do the Chicago Cubs fix the leadoff spot in 2020?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs: You’ve heard this guy’s name a few times

Take a look at the list of soon-to-be free agents to pick from this offseason. Lots of talent, great hitters, great pitchers. What you don’t see is a bona fide leadoff guy who plays second base or center field whom the Cubs could sign and regularly pencil into that spot. While there are several quality players who are similar to those Maddon has tried plugging into that spot, there doesn’t seem to be a good fit among the top free agents who will be available.

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Sure, we could sign Anthony Rendon to a monster deal or even someone like 37-year-old Brett Gardner on a one or two-year deal. Problem is Rendon isn’t any more a leadoff guy than Bryant, Schwarber, or Rizzo are. You’d also have a logjam of corner outfielders and musical chairs in the infield.  Gardner, while he could have filled that role 10 years ago and still might be valuable in some capacity, isn’t an everyday leadoff guy at this point in his career and only has a .326 OBP this year anyhow.

There’s a slight possibility Washington wouldn’t pick up their option on outfielder Adam Eaton, who sports a career .363 OBP, but that’s a pretty unlikely scenario considering they’re contenders themselves and he’s not that expensive at $9.5 million in 2020.

With a dearth of viable options available in free agency, the Cubs would seemingly have to attack this glaring hole via trade. Problem is, if you scroll through the OBP leaders this year (we are trying to solve the on-base problem, right?), you’ll see a bunch of sluggers, young guys who will be extremely expensive to pry away in trade, and one hit wonders who remain question marks. Oh, and oft-rumored trade target Whit Merrifield.

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