Chicago Cubs veteran second baseman Daniel Descalso did not live up to expectations in 2019 but could rebuild value in the 2020 season.
With the offseason and the beginning of free agency underway, the Chicago Cubs need to go all-in and make decisions looking toward the 2020 season. One of the decisions that has been looming is whether or not to retain veteran second baseman Daniel Descalso.
Signed to a two-year, $5 million deal before the 2019 season, Descalso was expected to be the team’s second baseman. However, he didn’t meet expectations, falling into a mental and physical slump just one month after the season started.
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There is no denying that Descalso started out hot. The 33-year-old veteran finished April batting .296 with two homers and 11 RBI. But, once May came around, it was all downhill from there. Not only did he fall into a month-long slump where his average seemed representative of his career average of .235, but he also found himself on the injured list after he rolled his ankle against the Milwaukee Brewers.
While it looked like Descalso would be injured for just a few days and wouldn’t miss more than a few games, he ended up being out for three months. Upon his return to the roster, he wasn’t an everyday player like he was in April. Thus, only getting 20 at-bats the rest of the season, he never really came out of his slump and rumors about his health lingered on.
Descalso ended last season appearing in just a total of 82 games slashing .173/.271/.250. The two home runs he hit in April were his only two of the entire season. The veteran also ended with a total 15 RBI, 11 of those coming in April, while striking out a total of 57 times.
Should the Cubs chose to retain him heading into 2020, Descalso will make $2.5 million. But the question remains: will the Cubs keep Descalso around and give him the chance to re-establish himself?
Chicago’s longstanding second baseman Ben Zobrist’s return is questionable, so having Descalso around could be beneficial in that regard. Though he just went through the worst season of his career, there is room for him to rebuild his value in 2020. Besides finding his footing again next year, Descalso brings an element of leadership to the clubhouse that can greatly impact the younger players on the team.
Hypothetically, if Zobrist isn’t an option and Descalso cannot rebuild himself to where he needs to be, the Chicago Cubs could release the latter and someone on the bench could play second.
Players including Ian Happ and David Bote could take over the second base role. In this case, both of these players offer both better bats and defense. Yes, there are many ways that the Cubs could answer the Daniel Descalso question – but we’ll likely have to wait for an answer.