The Cubs have several areas to improve and address before the start of the 2019 season and that includes adding infield depth. Javier Baez will be the shortstop and it’s still unclear if Addison Russell will remain with the organization. Ben Zobrist is slated as the second baseman, but the team probably doesn’t want him making most of the starts there for the entire season.
At the same time the Cubs don’t seem to be in a position to really make a huge signing in the infield, Manny Machado, so they’re turning to some of the other versatile infielders available in free agency.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Cubs are in strong pursuit of Daniel Descalso.
#Cubs in strong pursuit of free-agent infielder Daniel Descalso, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 14, 2018
And according to Bob Nightengale the Cardinals are also interested.
Daniel Descalso indeed the #Cubs first choice as a super utility player but they just don’t know whether they can afford him in their budget with Descalso also on #Stlcards radar. https://t.co/xRhm6FXK78
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2018
Descalso, a left-handed batter, broke into the majors with the Cardinals back in 2010, played in St. Louis through 2014 and then spent two years with the Rockies and the past two years with the Diamondbacks.
The 32-year-old just happened to have the best season of his career in 2018. He had a .789 OPS, with a .353 OBP, which is good because he only hit .238. You love to see the 64 walks. He hit for modest power, 13 home runs and 22 doubles, but that seems to be trending up in the last couple seasons.
As far as his defensive versatility goes, Descalso has at least 131 starts at third, second and shortstop, while making 29 starts at first base and even 42 starts in left field.
However, he hasn’t really played shortstop since 2016, making 31 starts that season with the Rockies and none since.
He could be a fit for the Cubs, though, even if he’s obviously not as flashy of a player compared to who else is still out there in free agency.
The Cubs need some infield depth, so at this point anyone who can bring a decent OBP presence (.345 last 3 seasons) and some flexibility is an upgrade.