Chicago Cubs: David Bote has no clear role heading into the season
One of the forgotten players kind of lost in the shuffle this off season for the Chicago Cubs amid all of the action, or lack thereof, has been one of their more steady players the past two seasons.
David Bote can play all over the infield, but in 2020, it’s questionable where he will play for the Cubs. Conventional wisdom says he can slot right into second base since there is really nobody on the roster who can play the position, aside from Nico Hoerner and Daniel Descalso.
Descalso missed a lot of last season with an injury, and Hoerner’s status is unknown whether he will start the year with the Cubs or start in Triple-A. Hoerner looked good in his short stint in Chicago last season, and he’s not going to unseat Javier Baez from short.
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The possibility exists that Bote will rotate between second, third and short in order to spell the starter like he has done for the majority of his career. Last season, Bote posted a 106 wRC+ with a 1.5 fWAR primarily playing second and third. He filled in at shortstop a couple games when Baez was injured in September.
With new rumors popping up that the Cubs are still interested in Nolan Arenado, and Bote being from Colorado, he could potentially play a role in a potential trade with the Rockies. However, a 1-for-1 with Arenado for Kris Bryant straight up has reportedly been talked about.
Bryant’s grievance with the Cubs was finally settled by MLB, so any trade talk involving Bryant may accelerate before the season starts. The Cubs are still working with two years of service time for Bryant, which makes him a little more valuable in a trade than he would be if he had won the grievance.
If the Cubs do trade Bryant, and not for Arenado, Bote may very well slide to third and get the chance to be the every day guy at the position. His defensive prowess at third base is noted, but as a starter, Bote’s career slash in .235/.330/.388. He has the potential to be exposed at the plate while playing every day. Coming off the bench, Bote’s slash line is .343/.440/.586.
Those numbers can be a little misleading as every starter game is a game that he’s in the lineup, but anybody that’s watched him over the last two years knows that if he plays every day for an extended amount of time he can get exposed at the plate.
The case of David Bote is an interesting one. He’s certainly a Major League player, and a very solid one, but what role will he serve on the 2020 Cubs. For that matter, will he even be on the roster?