Chicago Cubs News: Nick Madrigal faces uncertainty

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs - Game One
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs - Game One / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

In his first full year with the Chicago Cubs after missing out on the second half of the 2021 season upon being acquired via trade, Nick Madrigal's future appears to be murky based on what the Cubs do this offseason. Before being acquired in 2021, albeit in 303 career ABs, Madrigal slashed a respectable .317/.358/.406. By doing so, he proved himself worthy of the kind of guy who could be an elite contact hitter after recording lines of .361/.422/.502 in 3 seasons of collegiate baseball and .309/.371/.394 in 3 minor league seasons before getting called up to the show.

In 2022, Madrigal unfortunately again was limited to just 59 games with the Cubs, which was only 5 more than the season prior. Making matters worse, Madrigal never really found his stride in 2022, notching a line of just .249/.305/.282, which to say the least is quite uncharacteristic of him given the high batting averages he's recorded throughout his career. Now, as we take a look at the Cubs' offseason as it pertains to rumors, questions begin to raise regarding Madrigal's future as a Chicago Cub.

You hear the shortstop rumors. You hear the potential of moving Nico Hoerner to second base where he presumably can become just as an elite of a defender and an everyday player the way he has been at shortstop. You can do the simple math as it pertains to Madrigal if the Cubs sign that shortstop and move Hoerner to second. Complicating matters for Madrigal is the Cubs' recent trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, acquiring Miles Mastrobuoni who is listed primarily as a second baseman himself.

Though Mastrobuoni is also a right fielder, his ability to play second base, and really all over for that better, makes him an easy replacement anywhere in the field if the Cubs need him to be. They don't necessarily need to pay Madrigal if they have guys that can play there and it's primarily manned by Hoerner moving forward. Making matters even more interesting? Nick Madrigal isn't a free agent until 2027, which gives him a pretty decent amount of trade value as a major-league roster piece with several years of team control.

Nick Madrigal's time with the Chicago Cubs may already be coming to an end.

Allow me to speculate a little here, but moving Madrigal might be one of the keys to acquiring a solid starting pitcher in the offseason this winter. Pairing him with a top prospect is definitely the start of a package that could intrigue a team. Not to contradict myself, though Madrigal had a down 2022 season, it's not that he's a bad player, it's just that the Cubs have multiple options at second base, especially if they sign a shortstop.

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Something tells me this 2023 Cubs team will be extremely different than 2022. With multiple predictions involving the Cubs to be aggressive, both in free agency and the trade market, it shouldn't be long before the Cubs make their first significant splash. Instead of outrighting and DFAing players altogether, the Cubs need to pull off a nice trade including a couple of their 40-man guys to add that ace starting pitcher. Subsequently, another couple of spots on the 40-man roster are cleared to further explore the free-agent market.