Cubs News: Top 3 candidates to replace Kris Bryant as the leadoff hitter
Cubs must finally go after Whit Merrifield at the deadline
The past four years for Epstein, addressing the leadoff spot is like having a leaky roof. You can put a piece of tape over the hole, maybe a bucket under it, and it might help the solution in the short-term, but if it is not fixed with a permanent answer, bigger problems will arise. Ross can continue the merry-go-round of who gets to bat leadoff next, but it’s going to catch up to the Cubs sooner or later if they do not find a proven solution.
If the Cubs plan to make a postseason run, Epstein will need to make a move at the August 31 trade deadline to bring in a leadoff man. An affordable option who I believe would be a perfect fit for this Cubs lineup is Whit Merrifield. The 31-year-old is in his second season of a four-year/$16.5 million deal. Talk about a bargain.
After grinding his way to the big leagues, Merrifield made his first all-star appearance and led the American League in hits last season. Similar to Ben Zobrist, Merrifield can play nearly anywhere in the field and has picked up right where he left off a season ago: .300/.354/.522 with a .876 OPS.
The idea of Merrifield leading off the top of this Cubs lineup seems almost too good to be true. There have been rumors in the past of Epstein trying to make this happen, but the asking price of the Royals is high. If this is still the case, Theo will have to consider rolling the dice if it’s worth the type of player the Cubs have been lacking for the past four years.