Cubs: Three questions the team must answer when play resumes
Chicago Cubs: Is Hoerner ready to go solo at second base?
Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner is a fan favorite for sure but we all know how fast that love affair can go south if Hoerner begins missing balls coming his way at second base.
What other options do the Cubs have?
There are a lot of utility players foaming at the mouth to get a crack at second base if Hoerner stumbles. Cubs utility players like David Bote, Jason Kipnis, Daniel Descalso, and even Ian Happ would love to be the full-time answer on second but other than Hoerner, no one is really a dedicated second baseman.
With an expanded roster for the upcoming ‘short’ season of 82 games or so, the Cubs may want to bring utility second baseman Jason Kipnis up from Triple-A and give the young Hoerner some veteran help in the infield.
While Kipnis is famous for chasing loose balls around second base, you won’t find a more dedicated replacement that cares about his performance than Kipnis. While his slugger days may be behind him with a .273 SLG in spring training, Kipnis has no fear of chasing down anything around second base. For some reason, I just trust that Kipnis can get the job done if Hoerner falters. Kipnis should be the first name on an expanded roster.
Daniel Descalso would not be my choice for a backup to Hoerner as he has not been that impressive in any of his appearances to date. Whether it be offense or defense, the only reason Descalso isn’t gone is that no one is looking to pick him up and he’s still got a contractual obligation to the team.
Desclaso’s .160 BA over spring training is laughable and yet close to Descalso’s regular average. Descalso is simply not a reliable option for a Hoerner backup. I’m not sure if Ross has an option to send Descalso down; but if he does, I would certainly exercise the right and bring up Kipnis.
While the season is still hanging in the air like an NBA jump ball between players and owners, MLB is still sitting in the bleachers with no guarantee to return yet while the ivy in Wrigley Field gets greener by the day.