The Chicago Cubs may have placed a temporary band-aid on their first base problem as center fielder Cody Bellinger has been manning the position as he continues to progress from a knee injury that cost nearly a month's worth of games.
Outside of Bellinger's recent run at first base, the position has been a problem for the Cubs yet again this season as their veteran solutions in Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini have failed to gain traction. Hosmer is no longer with the team as the veteran was designated for assignment in May and Mancini may no longer be a playable option at first base.
Mancini has a negative defensive WAR this season of -6.1 and while his less-than-stellar outfield play earlier this season is factored into that calculation, most of the liability has been at first base as the veteran has recorded -4 this season in regard to defensive runs saved.
Mancini's latest blunder at first base happened during Wednesday's victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates as his error not only allowed the Pirates back into the game but put reliever Mark Leiter Jr. in jeopardy of a serious injury.
It's worth noting that Bellinger, who had been scheduled to have the day off, replaced Mancini at first base in the following inning.
For a team that is constructed to win based on pitching and defense, the Cubs can not afford to put Mancini at first base any further.
To that end, Mancini's offense is not placing him in a position where he has to be in the lineup. Mancini is slashing .243/.317/.359 on the season with 4 home runs. Mancini's wRC+ of 86 along with ISO of .111speak to yet another instance where the Cubs' front office has misidentified a solution to a position of need.
Mancini has another year remaining on his contract with the Cubs but we may be reaching the point where the team may be better off eating the rest of the money by designating the veteran for assignment.