Chicago Cubs: the land of misfit toys

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 25: Albert Almora Jr. #5 and Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs jog off the field in the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 25: Albert Almora Jr. #5 and Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs jog off the field in the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Ian Happ: Center fielder, second baseman or bust?. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Ian Happ: Center fielder, second baseman or bust?. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The Land of Misfit Toys

Ian Happ and/or David Bote

Happ is also a candidate to fill the second base vacancy created by Russell’s departure. He has logged 37 starts at the position.

But the Chicago Cubs have other options at second, notably, David Bote, whose claim to fame to this point is the ninth-inning grand slam he hit in 2018 to beat the Washington Nationals.

Like Almora and Happ, Bote https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/boteda01.shtml is a system product. An 18th round draft choice, he debuted in 2018, and before long got a big career endorsement. The Cubs signed Bote last spring to a contract that buys up his arbitration seasons, in return for which he stands to make more than $28 million through 2026.

It was an especially odd move for the team to make given two factors.

  1. Bote’s natural position is third base, a spot held by Kris Bryant.
  2. Aside from the grand slam, Bote hadn’t done a lot to justify the team’s faith in him.

He still hasn’t. Across 201 games in two seasons, he is a .251 hitter with 17 homers and a 99 OPS+, marking him as yet another misfit. Yet as the Cubs prepare to pack for spring training the team’s depth chart projects him as a strong candidate for playing time at second.