Cubs will look to Jake Marisnick to be their fourth outfielder

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Even with a handful of alternatives in the mix in spring training, it looks like the Cubs have Jake Marisnick penciled in as their go-to fourth outfielder this season.

This weekend, Chicago and Marisnick agreed to terms on a one-year, $1 million deal with a $4 million mutual option for 2022. This announcement, which has been rumored for some time but is finally official, comes on the heels of the news the team brought back Cameron Maybin on a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp.

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On most days, the team will roll with an outfield (from left to right) of Joc Pederson, Ian Happ and Jason Heyward. While both Heyward and Pederson have platoon-worthy splits, Chicago is going to try and let Pederson work through those struggles by allowing him to play every day.

That’s all fine and well, but guys need days off. And that’s where Marisnick comes in.

"“Jake’s exciting for us as a guy that can play all three outfield positions,” Cubs manager David Ross told, “but really he’s an elite center fielder when you look at the way he goes and gets the baseball. He’s been on championship teams, and he knows what it’s like to play a role. His character is off the chart, and I think he’s a really good baseball player whose best is yet to come.”"

The former third-round pick spent the abbreviated 2020 season as a member of the Mets, hitting an uncharacteristically strong .333/.353/.606 in limited action. He’s been a pretty light-hitting player during his career and there’s little cause to expect anything different at this point.

Cubs will get a much-needed speed boost from Jake Marisnick

One area where Chicago has lacked in recent years is speed. Offensively, they live or die with extra bases – most often, the long-ball. So to have a guy like Marisnick available off the bench on days he’s not playing could be huge as Ross and the Cubs look to generate more offensive this season.

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When healthy, the fleet-footed outfielder is solid defensively and is a plus baserunner. Marisnick is just three years removed from playing a role on the 2017 World Series champion Astros – and Chicago hopes that experience of playing for a contender will be a boost to their clubhouse in 2021.