Chicago Cubs: 3 in-house candidates for the designated hitter role

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Willson Contreras / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: 3 in-house universal DH candidates: #1: Willson Contreras

Folks panicked when the Cubs went out and signed Yan Gomes early on in the offseason – assuming it was the writing on the wall for Willson Contreras. The two-time All-Star is, of course, entering his final year of team control and after what we all witnessed last summer in regards to core players on expiring contracts, you can understand the concern.

But the addition of Gomes can just as easily be viewed through the lens of making Contreras a better player. He’s been a workhorse behind the plate for years (he’s caught the fifth-most innings in all of baseball since the start of 2017) and you definitely saw that wear on him at the plate.

After the backup catcher carousel Chicago wound up resorting to in 2021, Gomes is a reliable counterpart behind the dish. His presence will allow the Cubs to let Contreras DH regularly, keeping his legs fresh and allowing him to stay in the lineup and contribute with his bat.

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There’s always been a lot of mixing and matching when it comes to the daily lineup construction. The incorporation of the designated hitter into the Senior Circuit will only further that – with managers having another spot in the lineup to work guys in and out of. How the Cubs will handle it remains to be seen, but I’d bet on Contreras getting plenty of reps as the DH in 2022.