Cubs: David Bote has more value to the team as a player than a trade chip

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cubs should hold on to David Bote, rather than try to trade him this winter.

The 2020 Major League Baseball season has come and gone, but the uncertainty that came with it has carried over into free agency, especially for the Chicago Cubs.

Regardless of the atypical environment, the offseason is underway – but there are a lot of unique complications that come along with it. Many teams and their front offices, including the Chicago Cubs are facing harrowing uncertainty in regards to their budgets. That won’t change anytime soon, either.

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As trade rumors begin swirling, Cubs fans are focusing on the state of the team heading into the 2021 season, especially with the large amount of players that have already hit free agency or are set to do so in the next 12 months. This much is clear. Change is inevitable and a new era is coming to the north side of Chicago, whether it be through free agent deals or franchise-altering trades.

Simply put, the Cubs are ready to put it all on the table and consider every option at their disposal to reshape the roster moving forward. This includes thinking about players who could serve as valuable commodities to the team in the nearby or even distant future, as well as those who could serve as convenient trade chips.

One member of the organization who might not be an everyday player, but still has value, is David Bote. Bote, 27, made his MLB debut back in 2018 and has spent the past two-plus years in the Cubs infield.

It should be noted that Bote does not have a defined position, but the fact that he has appeared regularly at different spots across the infield, including second base, shortstop and third base, shows he is versatile enough to adapt to any position where he is needed. In fact, this past season was a great example of this. When Kris Bryant fell to injuries, Bote was there to assume control of third base. Throughout the 2020 season, Bote, like many of his teammates posted pedestrian numbers. The infielder slashed just .200/.303/.408 in 145 plate appearances.

Yes, those numbers are below his career slash line of .240/.338/.415. However, Bote did come through in the clutch in 2020 – and wound up leading the team with 29 RBI. All things considered, I firmly believe that Bote has potential looking ahead toward 2021.

Not only is he on the young side, but he is also currently in the midst of a five-year, $15 million dollar contract that runs through 2024. The deal also contains two team options. This type of affordable, long-term team control doesn’t come around every day – and could be of interest if the Cubs decide to put him on the trade block.

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As a trade chip, Bote could entice all sorts of teams, since he is a proven clutch performer, has defensive versatility and is under a very team-friendly contract. But at the end of the day, with all the moving parts we’re going to see on this roster in the next year, his presence is far more valuable to Chicago at this point.