Chicago Cubs: Three free agents the team should go after this winter

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Flores turned in a solid campaign in Arizona last year

Contrary to the belief of new-age baseball fans, it’s not realistic to field a superstar at every position in Major League Baseball. You can come close, but it’s just not something you should expect from your team – even a large-market presence like the Cubs.

I wouldn’t be shocked at all if the team brought back Ben Zobrist as a key bench piece in 2020 – perhaps a one-year swan song to let him go out his way, rather than in a drama-riddled season that saw him battle personal matters off the field. If that’s the case, he can obviously play all over the diamond, including second base.

My top target is Howie Kendrick, despite his age. But given how well he’s performed in the postseason for the Washington Nationals, his asking price may be significantly higher than it was mere weeks ago. Knowing that, could Epstein pivot to a guy who will command less, such as Wilmer Flores?

Trust me, I know. This is the last name I ever thought I’d be writing about. To me, he’s still that young kid on the Mets who was an alright ballplayer, but nothing crazy special. But, to my surprise, he was pretty special as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019.

Flores set career-highs in pretty much every offensive category. In 89 games, he slashed .317/.361/.487 – good for a 118 OPS+. In fact, this marked his fourth consecutive year of grading out as an above-average offensive player in terms of OPS+ and wRC+. So while this year was something of a break-out, he’s been solid for longer than I’d known.

I’m not saying he’s going to suddenly be an All-Star presence, but if the Cubs are going to make a big splash elsewhere, they may have to play it savvy at second base – and Flores fits the bill.