The Cubs signed Matt Duffy to a minor league deal, shoring up the infield depth.
As reported by Bob Nightengale, the Chicago Cubs signed veteran infielder Matt Duffy to a minor league deal. If he makes the team, he gets a $1 million salary, plus $500K in incentives. With how things currently stand, he probably has a decent chance of making the roster.
Duffy is a former NL Rookie of the Year runner-up and is still just 28 years of age. He’s been a bit up and down offensively, but still carries a .282/.338/.380 in his big league career with San Francisco and Tampa Bay. The veteran hasn’t played in an MLB game since 2019 – but this move makes a lot of sense, especially when considering the team’s light infield depth.
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I think they have a place for him. David Bote is primarily a third baseman and Nico Hoerner needs to get more at-bats before he’s ready for an everyday job. Chicago has Bote under control through 2024 – and his role is likely dependent on what comes of the incessant Kris Bryant rumors.
For now, the team has Bryant at third, Javier Baez at shortstop and Anthony Rizzo at first base. All three are free agents at the end of the 2021 campaign, too – so there’s not a lot of long-term certainty when it comes to the Cubs infield.
Duffy likely isn’t going to set the world on fire. That being said, he has the ability to be a quality piece on the roster. There’s no comparing him to a healthy Bryant, that’s to be sure.
Regardless of whether or not the Cubs have Bryant through the end of 2021 shouldn’t impact Duffy all that much. He’s gotten the majority of his reps at third in his career, but David Ross should be able to mix-and-match with Bote and Duffy to get them both at-bats either way.
Duffy is a solid pick-up for a team with limited financial maneuverability. It definitely safe guards you a bit should you trade someone before Opening Day – and, like I said, even if you don’t – depth is critical and he’ll check that box nicely for the Cubs.