The Cubs have come back down to earth after an exciting start to the year. The season-opening series win against the Brewers and 21-0 win over the Pirates were exciting no doubt, but dropping three of four at home to Pittsburgh raised some uncertainty to where this group may be headed. While we’ve seen a lot of bright spots from the likes of Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ and Keegan Thompson, there are some concerns in the field.
We were hoping Andrelton Simmons would provide an answer on that front – but it looks like, despite a glaring need for defensive reinforcements in the infield, the Cubs will have to wait a bit longer.
In case you forgot, the Cubs signed Simmons in March to a one-year-deal worth $4 million. This unofficially ended the idea of Carlos Correa finding his way into a Cubs uniform and wasn’t the most exciting signing at the time, but it does carry some significance.
Simmons continues to deal with a shoulder injury that’s kept him from the lineup to this point. While he won’t bring excitement to the offensive side of things, his impact will be made in the field.
The veteran is a four-time Gold Glover, owns one Platinum Glove and won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award in 2015. He’s spent 10 years in the league, five with the Angels, four with the Braves and one with the Twins.
His defensive accolades will serve him well on this team, especially when we look to another 2022 offseason addition in Jonathan Villar. Villar signed a one-year-deal for $4.5 million this winter and has proven to be an asset on offense but a liability on defense. He’s known for his versatility, as he’s played second, third, shortstop, left and center field throughout his 10 seasons in the MLB. However, he’s committed four of the Cubs seven errors so far in 2022 and already has a Defensive WAR of -0.3.
While the defense has been a concern, he’s raking. Through 50 plate appearances, he’s batting .341 with a .380 on-base-percentage and .766 OPS. That screams ‘DH’ – and that should be where Villar gets most of his reps right now.
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When Simmons returns, you can still keep Villar’s production in the lineup by allowing him to fill the designated hitter role. You also won’t have to worry about just which way Villar’s defense will sink the Cubs’ chances of winning a ballgame, either.