Right as the 2020 season kicks off, the Chicago Cubs add some depth to their roster with Derek Dietrich
As the first set of MLB games began Thursday night, former Marlins and Reds utilityman Derek Dietrich posted on Instagram that he was signing with the Chicago Cubs organization. Dietrich (31) was released by the Reds a few days ago after playing in 113 games for them last year. Many fans remember his famous bat-drops after hitting some big home runs last year.
Dietrich had dealt with some shoulder issues later last year after he got off to a roaring start. He was one of the Reds most productive players the first few months but fell off hard. In 2019 he hit a career-high 19 home runs with a .187/.328/.462 slash, 43 RBI, 102 wRC+ and 1.1 fWAR. In total, he is a career .246/.334/.427 hitter with 79 home runs, 7.4 fWAR, .761 OPS and 108 wRC+.
The batting average and second-half numbers from last year look pretty bad, no doubt. However, his career numbers show he is a reasonably productive utility man, and the Cubs might have found a very nice depth piece if he is healthy.
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What Dietrich can bring to the Cubs
Yes, the roster was announced earlier on Thursday. According to Cubs beat Jordan Bastain, the contract is a minor league deal and he will report to South Bend. While he might begin the season with the minor league squad, Dietrich is a nice depth piece to have if needed. He can play multiple positions, including first base, second base, third base and left field.
Dietrich, when healthy, provides a bat that has some excellent pop. The past three seasons in 397 games, he hit 48 home runs and averaged 16 homers each year in that span. For a primarily infield utility man, that is not bad. Last season he hit some absolute monster shots with the Reds. The Cubs honestly need more veteran depth that can hit for power and get on base at a decent rate. Plus, with Daniel Descalso going on the 45-day IL, it is smart to add more depth at utility.
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There could be several ways Dietrich makes the roster. If someone in the outfield is struggling at the plate or there is another injury/illness on the team, then he is probably one of the first players getting the call. Overall this move makes perfect sense for the Cubs and could pay off nicely.
Opening Day is upon us, and it is kind of crazy Cubs fans got news of Dietrich signing before Marquee Sports Net got a deal with Xfinity. The thought is it sounded like that deal is coming.