Garrett Cooper signing could mean this Cubs player is on his way out

Jed Hoyer continues to add options at first base, and his latest addition could push out a fan favorite via trade.

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

Hot on the heels of the Cody Bellinger signing, the Chicago Cubs added veteran first baseman Garrett Cooper on a minor league deal with a non-roster invitation to spring training.

Cooper joins a first base picture that already includes top prospect Michael Busch, Matt Mervis, Patrick Wisdom and Dom Smith. Smith, like Cooper, recently joined the Cubs on a minor league pact but should be viewed through the lens of a reclamation project at this point. Busch, according to Carter Hawkins, is the Cubs' planned Opening Day first baseman.

It seems the shine has worn off Mervis already - and Cooper's signing will do little to convince me otherwise. But with the Cubs needing to clear a 40-man spot before making the Bellinger signing official, I can't help but wonder if it's Wisdom who could end up the odd man out before the week is up.

Here's why the Cubs could trade Patrick Wisdom after signing Garrett Cooper

Why Wisdom? Because he and Cooper share a lot of the same skillsets, namely that they both hit left-handed pitching quite well. Wisdom has a higher power ceiling, while Cooper has a lower strikeout rate and higher batting average. Given his track record, the longtime Marlins staple reportedly chose between Chicago and Boston and, despite a fairly crowded infield picture, picked the Cubs over the Red Sox.

Wisdom is set to make $2.75 million in 2024, hardly a large amount in the grand scheme of things, but if the Cubs feel like they can get similar production from Cooper on a minor league deal while perhaps adding an arm by trading Wisdom, it would hardly come as a shock to see Hoyer do so.

Cooper posted his first below-average season offensively since 2018 last year, splitting the campaign between Miami and San Diego and working to a 96 OPS+ in 457 plate appearances. But between 2019 and 2022, he was a solidly above-average bat for the Marlins, with a 115 OPS+ and an All-Star appearance to his credit.

Perhaps the Cubs think the power they'd lose by trading Wisdom will be offset by a full season of Christopher Morel and the addition of Busch. Maybe the swing-and-miss in Wisdom's game isn't something they're comfortable with any longer, especially given his declining defensive metrics of late. Or maybe there's another path forward here, and I'm making much ado about nothing. I guess we'll see soon enough.