As spring training draws closer, it’s looking like the Cubs will rely on Albert Almora Jr. as their primary center fielder. And while Jon Jay is still available despite the solid season he gave the Cubs platooning with Almora, the Cubs might be better suited to sign a different veteran. The speedy Jarrod Dyson.
The 33-year-old Dyson fits the exact profile the Cubs would be looking for in a back-up center fielder. Has excellent speed on the bases, stealing at least 26 or more bags since 2012, swiping 28 in 2017 – the 10th most in the league.
And a source close to Sports Mockery says the Cubs have show an interest in the veteran outfielder, and that the interest may be mutual.
Source: The #Cubs are in contact with FA OF Jarrod Dyson. Dyson slashed .251/.324/.350 with 28 stolen bases in 2017 with the Mariners.
— Sean Sears (@seanrsears) January 26, 2018
Dyson would have easily led the Cubs in steals, something the team has struggled with since before Joe Maddon took over as skipper, with Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez tying for the team lead with 10. Adding Dyson would give the Cubs one of the fastest runners in baseball, ranked 30th in sprint speed according to Statcast.
The thought of having Dyson and his speed coming off the bench in a close game has to make Maddon’s mouth salivate. However, his work at the plate is about average at best, as the left-handed-hitter is slashing .263/.329/.372 over his eight year career.
The good news is though, despite Dyson’s offensive short-comings, the lefty still finds ways to score runs. Last season, the veteran scored a career-high 56 runs as the Mariners 4th outfielder.
In the field is where Dyson might provide the most value for the Cubs, who had a defensive runs saved of 15 with the Mariners last season, per Fangraphs. According to Statcast’s catch probability, out of 15 balls that had a catch probability of 25% or less, Dyson caught three of them for a 20 percent 5-star catch probability – the 13th best in the MLB.
So with a platoon between Almora and Dyson, the defense will not suffer no matter who Maddon decides to start in the center. And the best part is, he won’t cost a ton, likely somewhere between the $2-$3 million per year and for a 2.6 WAR player, that’s not bad at all.
The only downside to Dyson is that multiple teams are attracted to the speedy-veteran, which could possibly drive the price up for the Cubs. But with an addition like Dyson, the Cubs would not only improve on the base paths, but it would also give them more versatility. And for a club like the Cubs, more versatility is never a bad thing.