Chicago Cubs: Signing Mark Canha could make for a sneaky good move
Going into the offseason the Chicago Cubs find themselves with a lot of work to do. With so many holes to fill and an owner who doesn’t seem keen on spending big this offseason, finding little ways to improve and add depth to the roster seems to be the plan. Mark Canha is one free agent in particular that stands out as a perfect mix of everything the Cubs should look for.
Canha put together a very solid yet often overlooked tenure in Oakland over the past few years. He has a very respectable 114 career OPS+ and held right around that mark in 2021. His numbers are definitely helped by his ability to get on base which has improved significantly ever since his 2018 breakout campaign. While his power wasn’t the most impressive out there in 2021, Statcast had him ranked at the 91st percentile in chase rate and 87th in walk rate which is elite.
To go with the bat, Canha’s been an essentially neutral fielder in Oakland, even if the 2021 outfield stats don’t fully reflect it. Statcast rated him highly in outs above average this year but, for his career, he has a UZR/150 in the outfield of -1.8 with -25 DRS. He’s not a pristine defender by any stretch, but serviceable enough and highly versatile to boot.
Mark Canha is the exact type of player the Chicago Cubs should target
Canha also fits that perfect archetype of player the Cubs are looking for from both a positional and cost perspective. He’s a big-time utility player with the ability to play just about anywhere on the field outside of pitcher and catcher, perfect when you’re configuring ways to get guys like Nico Hoerner and Patrick Wisdom into the lineup consistently. That ability helps cover any injuries or poor performance from guys who need to prove themselves in the lineup.
He’s not likely to cost much either. While he’s a solid overall player, I imagine some teams will be scared off by his age. In a time where teams are progressively going younger, the to be 33-year -old Canha won’t get as many looks for a deal, leaving ample room for the Cubs to scoop him up as a lower-cost, higher potential piece.
Even if Chicago isn’t in the thick of it next year, another good season from Canha at least could make him an excellent piece to flip at the deadline on a shorter-term deal.
It’s not a sexy big-name deal, but given the need for the Cubs to spread money around to fit their holes, it’s a nice, cost-effective move, especially if they fail to land someone like Chris Taylor. Canha is the type of move that can both improve the Cubs in the short term while fitting Jed Hoyer’s mantra of spending intelligently.