Chicago Cubs: Three better options than Daniel Descalso

Daniel Descalso - Chicago Cubs (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Daniel Descalso - Chicago Cubs (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Ian Miller – Chicago Cubs (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

1. Ian Miller – Outfielder

Ian Miller is probably the best fit for the 26th man on the roster. The Cubs need speed off the bench, and Miller stole 40+ bases three times in the minors, 50 one time, and 35 last year. Miller has the edge over Short and Higgins because he had a little bit of Major League time already under his belt with the Twins in 2019.

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He only slashed .176/.176 with a .412 OPS in 17 plate appearances. He tried to earn his keep in spring training, hitting a whopping .382/.462/.471 in 17 games. Miller has already stolen eight bases in the spring, and it seems like he has the green light to run any time he gets on base.

Miller is desperately what the Cubs have needed for a long time, a guy who can steal a base off the bench late in the game. They had Terrance Gore in 2018 for the stretch run and weren’t able to replicate his speed in 2019. In 2015, the Cubs had Quintin Berry for the stretch run, so having a pure speed guy is not uncommon among Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

The question is whether Miller can survive an entire season in the Majors, but it never hurts to let him try. The outfield isn’t a very wide-open competition, unfortunately for Miller. Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Happ, Almora, and Steven Souza Jr. are all outfielders with significant Major League time, and they very well may make up the five spots on the 2020 roster.

A true speedster is what the Cubs are looking for, and have been looking for since the Cubs started winning games. Miller gave it his best effort to try and impress the brass.

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All of this may be moot if there is no season played, as Major League Baseball canceled the rest of the spring training games and delayed the season by at least two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. Miller made his first impression, and it’s now up to the Cubs’ higher-ups to determine whether he got his roster spot. If he doesn’t, well, then he’ll just have to be like Short and Higgins and wait his turn due to injury or poor performance.

Miller signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in December and was initially drafted by the Mariners in the 14th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft. The Twins traded for Miller last July, and he made his debut as part of September call-ups.