Chicago Cubs: Three possibilities for Nico Hoerner in 2020

Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Nico Hoerner / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Will Nico and Javy be a thing this year?

The most apparent plan involving Hoerner at this moment is to start him as the Cubs Opening Day second baseman. Given his success and the way he handled himself while up for his 20 games in September, there’s no doubt Hoerner could handle the pressure that would come with starting the season as the starter at second base.

With any luck, the Addison Russell saga will be done with at some point this season, leaving Hoerner as the only real option to man second base as of right now. Sure, David Bote could start a few games there, but he’s a nice guy to be able to use off the bench or in times of injury at several different spots, if necessary. Hoerner is a certifiable middle infielder, who has displayed the ability to play both second base and shortstop. While he doesn’t have the same kind of bazooka that Javier Baez uses on a regular basis, neither does anyone else in the league quite frankly.

Robel Garcia could have been used and may get another shot at some at-bats, but I don’t think he’s ready for the big lights given his uneven 2019. Barring the addition of someone like Howie Kendrick (who isn’t that great a defender at this point), or re-signing a Ben Zobrist (who wouldn’t play every day anyway), the second base spot should be Hoerner’s by default. It’s a long offseason, but this is the option I’d choose if everything else were equal.

Pairing Hoerner with Baez could make their infield defense similar to what we saw in 2016, and that’s not even discussing his offensive ability. Hoerner’s highly touted contact rate and strength are exactly what the Cubs need in 2020, and it’s also precisely what they’ve come out and said is their priority. Why get rid of a guy who can fill one of your open spots and do on offense what you want him to do eventually?