Chicago Cubs issued challenge to Patrick Wisdom to improve defense

Feb 20, 2023; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom (16) takes fielding practice
Feb 20, 2023; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom (16) takes fielding practice / Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Defense has been a priority for the Chicago Cubs this off-season as they added four former Gold Glove award winners in catcher Trucker Barnhart, first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop Dansby Swanson, and center fielder Cody Bellinger. That should be why it should come as no surprise that the Cubs issued a challenge to third baseman Patrick Wisdom to work on his fielding after a 2022 season that saw him commit 14 errors at the hot corner.

As revealed by Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune, Wisdom was told by manager David Ross to not bring his offensive woes with him into the field.

"“It’s definitely something I needed to hear, not necessarily what I wanted to hear — it’s like a gut punch,” Wisdom told the Tribune. “Sometimes I was caught on my heels because my mind is somewhere else. I want to perform so well at the plate that it kind of filtered into the field."

Patrick Wisdom via Chicago Tribune

Wisdom's power is certainly is the main attraction that the Cubs have for wanting him in the starting lineup but if the defensive struggles continue in 2023, the team has options. Edwin Rios signed a Major League deal with the Cubs at the start of Spring Training and has a similar power profile to Wisdom with the only difference being that Rios swings from the left side of the plate. Rios already has two home runs this Spring and there has been a growing belief that he could emerge as the team's everyday third baseman before too long.

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Ideally, the Cubs may envision a platoon at third base with Wisdom getting the starts against left-handed pitchers and Rios getting the starts against righties. Nick Madrigal is also in the process of converting to being a third baseman and he could challenge Wisdom for at-bats against lefties in the event that Wisdom's defensive struggles return in 2023.