Chicago Cubs should target veteran Nick Markakis in free agency

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images /

The Cubs should target  Nick Markakis this offseason to round out the outfield.

The offseason is in full swing and free agency is among us. So far, the non-tender deadline has come and gone, resulting in new free agent names going up for grabs. As far as the Chicago Cubs are concerned, two of the players the team non-tendered include a pair outfielders in Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora.

While these moves along with the other players non-tendered did help put money back into the coffers, they also left the team with an insufficient amount of outfielders.

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With both Schwarber and Almora hot on the free agent market and out of the picture for the Chicago Cubs, the team’s two remaining outfielders on the 40-man roster are Ian Happ and Jason Heyward. So not only does the team need a third starting outfielder, but they’re bereft of any depth at the positions.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a wide range of outfielders on this year’s free agent market and this already small market just keeps shrinking. The likes of Hunter Renfroe signing a one-year, $3.1 million dollar deal only proves my point further. Yes, Kevin Pillar is still available and while he would be a great addition to the ball club, his price tag could send the North Siders looking elsewhere. In case the Cubs are concerned with spending, one of the players that the Chicago Cubs should target to fulfill the team’s need for outfield depth is veteran right fielder Nick Markakis.

Markakis, 37, is a free agent after spending six seasons with the Braves in Atlanta, and a total of 15 seasons in the major leagues. While Markakis might be on the older side, he has a lot that he could bring to the table both offensively and defensively. For starters, Markakis has a career slash line of .288/.357/.423.  His best season where he played in all 162 games was 2018. That year, Markakis posted an average of .297 with 185 hits, 14 home runs and 93 RBI. Additionally, he appeared in the 2018 All-Star Game, won his third Gold Glove award and his first career Silver Slugger award.

Though Markakis did originally opt out of the abbreviated 2020 season, he opted back in at the beginning of the season. In that 2020 season, Markakis slashed .254/.312/.392. In addition to his numbers and his accomplishments in recent years, he has the experience under his belt to bringing a respected veteran presence to the clubhouse.

There is no denying that replacing a strong outfield arm like Kyle Schwarber is a difficult task. However, Markakis is a great option if the Cubs want to fulfill their outfield woes by adding a viable veteran to their roster.

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As mentioned, Markakis is 37 years of age and is perhaps approaching the end of his major league career. So, signing him to a short-term affordable contract could be in the best interest of both parties involved. Hopefully one way or another, the Chicago Cubs are able to find a solution for the outfield looking onto 2021.