Cubs: Team’s biggest failure this winter came at second base

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

As Spring Training draws closer by the day, the Chicago Cubs failed to add address one of their biggest needs this offseason.

Out of all the additions to the team, they failed to address second base. David Bote, Nico Hoerner and Ildemaro Vargas are set to take turns at that spot, and quite frankly that is just unacceptable.

There was rumored interest in Kolten Wong before he signed with the Brewers, as well as proven commodities like Jonathan Schoop and Jonathan Villar. Even a guy like Dee Strange-Gordon was available, and the Cubs passed on all of them to spend nearly $3 million on relief pitchers like Andrew Chafin.

There are still lesser options available like Eric Sogard and Joe Panik, but at that point the Cubs may as well run with what they have.

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Hoerner needs more time in the minor leagues. He was skyrocketed to the big leagues and has not shown much at the plate offensively. His .247/.309/.333 slash line is nothing to write home about. Granted, Hoerner has been dealt a bad hand so to speak. He came up to the Majors out of necessity clearly before he was ready as a replacement for Javier Baez when he got hurt in 2019.

In last year’s shortened season the Cubs decided to give him a shot and see what he could do. That’s fine, they should have given him a shot, but a .259 slugging percentage just will not cut it at any level of baseball. He hit the ball on the ground 56 percent of the time and had hard contact less than 30 percent of the time, according to Fangraphs.

Hoerner is the best defensive choice of the second base options, with 5 DRS last year at second base. As for Bote, he is a better bench player than starter. In his career as a starter, his slash line reads .226/.324/.385, and off the bench his OPS is over 1.000. A late game defensive replacement and pinch hitter with the occasional start is his best role. Vargas is a utility player whose sample is not big enough to know much about yet.

Cubs: The non-move signals more confusion

Offensively, the position is a black hole over 162 games. Chicago clearly had more money to spend after the addition of Joc Pederson, and they let good option after good option at second base go to other teams.

Yet another non-move by the front office just shows that the Cubs are stuck in limbo in regards to the direction they want to go. The trade of Yu Darvish signaled the beginning of a tear down, then the team signed Pederson, which is a winning move.

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The Cubs, similar to their ongoing issues out of the leadoff spot, have struggled to find a replacement at second base since Ben Zobrist retired, and this year looks no different, and that’s sad. There were options, and they let them all go.