A cost-effective outfield option for the Cubs is off the board in David Dahl.
After non-tendering Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber last week, the Chicago Cubs need outfield depth. They currently have just a pair of outfielders on the 40-man in Ian Happ and Jason Heyward. On Friday, a potential free agent target came off the board when David Dahl inked a one-year, $3 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
Dahl, 26, is coming off the worst year of his career. He batted just .183/.222/.247 this year for the Colorado Rockies – but his track record, like many players who struggled this year, suggests he’s a much better hitter than that.
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The former number 10 overall pick carries a career .286/.334/.494 line. In 2019, Dahl hit .302 for the Rockies, driving in a career-high 61 runs in 100 games, earning the first All-Star nod of his career. He made his living that year by punishing fastballs – something we know the Cubs struggle with in a big way.
Dahl has battled injuries throughout his career, which might have been a reason Chicago didn’t seriously pursue him. He’s hit the 100-game mark just one time (in that aforementioned 2019 campaign), so there’s definitely cause for concern when it comes to him staying on the field over the course of a 162-game slate.
Texas is in a similar position as the Cubs when it comes to outfield depth. They have just two guys with any substantive experience at the big league level – Joey Gallo and Willie Calhoun. And, while Gallo is certainly capable of great things, if I’m picking between Gallo and Calhoun or Happ and Heyward, I’m going with the Chicago tandem 10 times out of 10.
Heyward was the unsung offensive hero for the Cubs this year, turning in his best season in years at the plate. Happ, meanwhile, broke out early before fading late in the campaign. Both look to have starting gigs in the bag heading into 2021 – but they’ll need some help in the outfield.
Nico Hoerner‘s name has been tossed around as a center field option. That would mean Happ sliding over to left (which is something that should probably happen regardless). But here’s the thing. Hoerner needs more development before he’s ready to hit at the big league level. He’s elite defensively, but he’s dead weight with the stick – and the Cubs know that.
With Dahl off the board, we’ll keep an eye out for any rumors on potential replacements for both Schwarber and Almora. Remember, not only do the Cubs need a third starting outfielder, but they badly need outfield depth as they build out a roster for 2021 and beyond.