I get it. You don’t want to talk about someone like Josh Harrison, a veteran infielder who turns 35 next summer, when you could be talking about Carlos Correa. But it’s important to understand that the Chicago Cubs landing Correa is far from a certainty and, even if they do, this team needs additional depth heading into 2022.
Harrison split 2021 between Washington and Oakland, continuing a bounceback from his bottoming out back in 2019 when it very much looked like his career might be nearing the end of the line after he posted a .480 OPS with the Tigers. Since the start of the 2020 season, the Cincinnati native has rebounded with a .279/.343/.402 line and 106 OPS+ across 649 plate appearances.
Right now, Chicago will head into the spring with Nick Madrigal and Nico Hoerner penciled in up the middle. That duo, while promising, comes with a ton of question marks, namely health. No one’s ever loved Madrigal’s defense at second base and you’d obviously have to move Hoerner off that position and over to shortstop, which has been handled by Javier Baez for years now.
Even if David Ross comes out of the spring happy with that combo – Harrison provides veteran depth at second, third, short and even in the outfield. Again, he’s strongest at second, but brings that experience all over the diamond.
We’re not going to factor Correa into this for argument’s sake. The Cubs could want to use Hoerner as more of that jack-of-all trades we know the like to have on the roster every year. He has experience around the infield and in center field, and could move around to keep guys fresh.
Chicago Cubs: Josh Harrison is a veteran with tremendous versatility
This year, Harrison hit nearly .300 against lefties, which would be a boost for Chicago, which batted .247 as a team in 2021 in such matchups. That being said, there isn’t a dramatic splits difference for the veteran – and he’s always been a huge clubhouse guy, which is an area he could help this team almost as much as he would on the field.
Next spring, we’re going to see Ross start searching for his next core of leaders – especially if Willson Contreras is traded before then. Harrison could be a calming presence and a key mentor for a team that’s going to have a ton of youth – and a lot of teachable moments in the 2022 season.