3 left-handed bats the Chicago Cubs should prioritize if Cody Bellinger leaves

Losing Cody Bellinger would be devastating for the Chicago Cubs, but there are still options that could improve the lineup significantly from the left side.

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians
Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
2 of 3

#2: Max Kepler

It seems likely that the Minnesota Twins are going to deal from their core of position players this offseason to replenish a pitching staff in dire straits. While we've already discussed the Cubs as a perfect destination for righty Jorge Polanco, there's also a strong fit with their lefty outfielder Max Kepler. Like Polanco, he's spent the entirety of his career so far with the Twins and has been a steady contributor throughout that time. His overall career slash line of .236/.319/.434 with a 101 wRC+ is solid enough, but he's capable of reaching greater heights too.

In 2023, however, Kepler showed off his best self, slashing a much better .260/.332/.484 with a strong 128 wRC+. Although he isn't particularly consistent from season to season, the results rarely seem to bottom out and, with only one year left on his deal, there would be relatively little risk in acquiring him. The underlying metrics were generally strong across the board last year, leading to his expected stats being slightly better than his already solid slash line.

Again, Kepler isn't without warts. The best fit for the Cubs, ideally, would be to have Kepler share time in center field with Pete Crow-Armstrong. However, he has always been better equipped to play right field and hasn't played up the middle in a consistent capacity since 2019. On top of everything, Kepler's splits are extreme with a career 113 wRC+ against righties and 77 wRC+ against lefties. Despite everything, there's still the possibility of using Kepler as a solid lefty bat who can be consistently worked into the lineup in ideal situations as either an outfielder or designated hitter.