Chicago Cubs: Three unexpected designated hitters candidates
Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo
This one is the least likely to happen, but if you think about it, you may just be able to convince yourself that it makes sense.
Cubs’ mainstay Anthony Rizzo is one guy to keep an eye on for the season. He’s been a gamer through everything else, but he beat leukemia, and his immune system may not be as strong as an average healthy person. He will make whatever decision he wants, and he should be respected for it.
Happ might be the first choice to replace him at first base if he does decide to sit out. But, if Rizzo plays, and Ross wants to have a lot of power and patience at the DH spot, then Happ would be an excellent choice to slot in there.
Rizzo has played nearly every game the past seven seasons when he’s not injured. He now has a lingering back issue and has hit age 30. He will be 31 in August, and there is a whole lot of mileage on that body.
He has power, he has plate presence, and he is a veteran presence to lead the offense. Rizzo being slotted as the DH gives him some more years on his career potentially, and his body will be less beat down at the end of a season.
Rizzo is the unquestioned leader of the team and having him sit on the bench for half the game as the DH may hurt team chemistry, as you’ll see Rizzo head to the mound at points when a pitcher is starting to struggle, and he can’t do that from the dugout.
Rizzo is a three-time gold glove winner and has a platinum glove to his name as well, so taking him off first base would be a defensive loss. Luckily, anybody can play first base. Kris Bryant, Happ, Bote, and Contreras have all seen time at first base during their careers as Cubs, so the options are out there, but Rizzo is the best one.
Rizzo has another option in his contract for 2021, and they may want to maximize his performance and get as much out of him as they can for the next season and a half, putting as the designated hitter would do that.
Ross trusts Rizzo more than maybe anybody else on the team, so Rizzo will likely slot right in at first base like normal, but if Ross wants to get unconventional like the old skipper, he may think outside the box, and this is one way to go.