Chicago Cubs: Where does Eric Sogard fit on this roster?
By Erik Mauro
At the beginning of March, the Chicago Cubs added to their already crowded second base depth with the signing of Eric Sogard, but failed to answer the question of who will win the job. Can Sogard be that guy?
The Cubs have had their eyes on Sogard for awhile, and they finally pulled the trigger on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Nothing Sogard does is too impressive, but what he does do is make contact. He has struck out less than 15 percent of the time in his career, according to Fangraphs. In this launch angle age there is value in contact, regardless of results.
More from Chicago Cubs News
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
- Cubs: P.J. Higgins deserves to be in the lineup on a daily basis
- Cubs might start to limit Justin Steele’s workload soon
Sogard is familiar with the NL Central having been with the Brewers for parts of three seasons. The Cubs have long liked experienced veterans, and Sogard fits the bill. However, Nico Hoerner and Ildemaro Vargas are also fighting for the job at second base, and Hoerner is having a dynamite spring so far.
Hoerner also played a bulk of the games at second base last year, but his offensive results left much to be desired, posting just a .259 slugging clip. Struggles are to be expected with young players, but Hoerner needs to be better than that, especially when he could take over for Javier Baez at shortstop next year if the Cubs don’t re-sign him.
Cubs: Nico Hoerner is the frontrunner now
So far this spring, Hoerner is slashing .563/.588/.938, albeit in just 16 at-bats. He has to be the frontrunner to win the job right now, but it never hurts to have competition, and that’s what Sogard brings. He has also posted 17 DRS in his career as a second baseman, so he can scoop it out there.
Believe it or not, Sogard could have value to the Cubs as a bench player. He has seen time at second, third, shortstop and even has some experience in the outfield. He’s a utility player with good contact skills. It’s a broken record at this point, but Chicago needs a player with good contact skills. Sogard’s experience won’t hurt either, having spent parts of ten seasons in the Majors.
Vargas may be the odd man out in this presumed three-man race, but he played with the Cubs last season and is further along than Sogard in the spring so far. Vargas, like Sogard, has seen time at many positions, but he has also played first. Vargas has only posted four DRS at second, Sogard may have the more valuable glove.
Hoerner will likely win the job, but both he and Sogard would bring value to the Cubs, albeit in different ways. It will be a fun battle to see who wins the bench spot between Sogard and Vargas. Regardless, Sogard is great insurance to have down in the minor leagues for future roster moves.