At this point, it’s hard to envision the Cubs front office doing anything that actually helps improve the team this season. We’ve seen no signs of anything like that being in the works, with backup catcher Austin Romine marking the club’s biggest signing of the offseason.
But with holes in left field and second base, not to mention the starting rotation, one would at least hope the Cubs will make some moves in the days and weeks to come. One name that’s been connected to the team this winter is longtime Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong.
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Chicago has ‘checked in on’ Wong, according to Jon Morosi – along with St. Louis, Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. Of course, back in October, the Cardinals declined his 2021 option in a move that seemingly set the tone for the entire offseason. But in the last couple of days, more than a half-dozen fairly prominent free agents have signed deals, perhaps signaling a thaw in the market.
Wong, still just 30, won the second Gold Glove of his career last season, while putting up a .265/.350/.326 line – good for an 87 OPS+. With the bat, he’s a pretty league average presence. But he brings a tremendous amount of value with his defense – something the Cubs pride themselves on.
He’s been pretty split-neutral in his career offensively, but has seen far more reps against right-handers than lefties. You could see Wong pair with someone like David Bote or Nico Hoerner, assuming the team doesn’t trade Kris Bryant before Opening Day, which would shift Bote over to the hot corner.
Kolten Wong would be a major boost to the Cubs moving forward
From 2017 to 2019, Wong was not only an elite defender up the middle, but also a slightly above-average offensive player (105 OPS+). Pairing the two made Wong one of the most underrated infielders in the game during that span.
Again, we have no idea what the Cubs will spend to improve the roster in 2021. But adding a player like Wong on a multi-year deal does nothing to hamper the team’s ability to re-tool with an eye on the future and would be a step toward potentially returning to the postseason this fall.