Chicago Cubs Rumors: Three fallback 1B targets this offseason
First base option #2: Yuli Gurriel
Another candidate who suffered a down 2022 but has mostly been successful is former Astros first baseman, Yuli Gurriel. Over the course of his 7-year career, Gurriel has slashed a respectable .284/328/.448 during his tenure in Houston. In three of those seasons, he recorded over 80 RBIs, including one where he hit 31 HRs and drove in 104. Though Gurriel batted just .242 in 2022, given his track record, I think it's safe to say he's been a professional enough hitter that one down year shouldn't really make you assume he just can't hit anymore.
Gurriel actually batted .232 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, then bounced back last year with a line of .319/.383/.462 which led the American League in batting average. So, here's a perfect example of a player that you shouldn't assume can't have an incredibly successful season after a down year at the plate. He more than likely won't hit over 20 HR again, but to plug a guy even towards the end of the lineup who can notch an OBP of over .340 is solid production.
Should the Cubs go all in on Gurriel? Of course not. He's just not necessarily a bad backup option if you miss on other targets ahead of him. Personally, you can probably peg him around 5th on a list of available first basemen. Still, he is a professional hitter who gets on base and can help any lineup. Not every team has a glaring need at first base, so the Cubs falling the way to Gurriel may seem a bit unrealistic, and hopefully so, but if it comes to that, I'm not exactly angry with the decision at least. He is a plus defender as well, proven by his Gold Glove in 2021. If he can still swing it, it's worth it on a 2-year deal.