Chicago Cubs: Second base is someone’s job to win in spring training

David Ross, Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Ross, Chicago Cubs (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

David Ross’s Chicago Cubs won’t have too many position battles this spring. One spot where there will be a battle will be a second base.

The Chicago Cubs are pretty set in most of their positions heading into the 2020 season. Anthony Rizzo should be playing first base almost everyday, Javier Baez will be the everyday shortstop. Kris Bryant will be handling the hot corner. Kyle Schwarber took a step forward during the second half of last season and showed that he is the everyday left fielder.

Early talks from spring training sounds like Ian Happ will get every chance to be the starting centerfielder to start the year. Finally, the five-time Gold Glover Jason Heyward should be the everyday right fielder. With all that, there will be fierce competition at second base this spring.

Second base was a low spot last season for the Chicago Cubs. It seemed like every person that was asked to fill in that role failed. The Cubs had eight different players make a start at second base in 2019. Addison Russel, David Bote, Daniel Descalso, Ben Zobrist, Tony Kemp, Ian Happ, Robel Garcia, and Nico Hoerner. Nobody took grabs of the spot when they got the opportunity.

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So coming into 2020, the spot is still up for grabs. The Cubs have 10 guys as of now in spring training that could play second base. It will most likely be a competition of three guys. Jason Kipnis, David Bote, and Daniel Descalso.

Jason Kipnis, who the Cubs just signed to a minor league deal, is the biggest name out of the three. The Chicago native who played against the Cubs in the 2016 World Series with the Indians will probably be the favorite on paper. Kipnis, 32, has spent all nine of his seasons with the Indians. Kipnis is another guy that has a low-risk high-reward type guy for the Cubs. If he can return to the Kipnis of old, he will be the Cubs starting second basemen.

David Bote is the next guy in line that could potentially be the Cubs starting second basemen on Opening Day in Milwaukee. Bote has been a super-utility guy for the Cubs since he was called up in 2018. He has spent some time at second, short, and third. Last season Bote increased his walk rate and cut down on his strikeout rate. It will be critical for Bote to take that next step into being an everyday big-league player.

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Lastly, Daniel Descalso will have a chance to rebound after an awful 2019 for the Cubs. Going into 2019, Descalso was looked at as being a steady veteran presence on and off the field. Joe Maddon spoke on Descalso, still being a good vet in the locker room, even with the massive struggles that he had during the year. Descalso will almost certainly make the team as he is still under a big-league deal for 2020, but will he be able to bounce back? That will be for David Ross to decide.

David Ross and his team will have a tough decision to make this spring regarding second base. In my opinion, it will be a “platoon” system with Kipnis and Bote for most of the season.