Why benching Seiya Suzuki was the right call for the Chicago Cubs

Seiya Suzuki may be the second highest-paid player on the Cubs, but manager David Ross seems to have benched the right-fielder and demoted him to a platoon role

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Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs have had the hottest offense in the entire league recently, but Seiya Suzuki has seemingly been demoted which was probably the right call by manager David Ross.

Tuesday was the first time Seiya Suzuki was seemingly benched from the Cubs lineup in favor of newcomer Jeimer Candelario and the hot-hitting Mike Tauchman. As a deadline acquisition and the best hitter on the market, Candelario will likely start every day either at third or first base. This pushes Cody Bellinger back into center field and leaves no other place for Mike Tauchman to play but right field, which used to be Suzuki's permanent home. But the Cubs are trying to win as many ball games as possible right now after President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer pushed the chips in at the trade deadline and made the move for Candelario.

It's not to say Suzuki has horrible numbers, they just aren't good enough. His wRC+ is floating right around the league average at 98, he is generally not hitting for much power with 9 home runs and he's striking out 25% of the time. Again not awful, but not great. The other kicker is the fact that whenever there are runners in scoring position, it seems like an absolute struggle for Suzuki to come up with a clutch hit. He only has 37 runs batted in on the season which does not give much confidence in his ability to keep rallies going. Mike Tauchman has almost 200 fewer at-bats than Suzuki this year but has driven in more runs (40).

This is probably why when Suzuki returned on Wednesday, he found himself hitting in the 7 hole, which is the lowest he's hit in the lineup all year. It was a good (and probably overdue) move by David Ross who has finally recognized Suzuki's struggles and moving him down takes some heat off the 28-year-old and gives him less high-pressure at-bats. Thursday's lineup again features Mike Tauchman patrolling right field while Suzuki rides the bench so this may become a permanent platoon down the stretch depending on pitching matchups.

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