Chicago Cubs: For the Cubbies, it’s “who’s on second?”

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates steals second base ahead of a tag attempt by Addison Russell #27 of the Chicago Cubs in the sixth inning during the game at PNC Park on September 26, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates steals second base ahead of a tag attempt by Addison Russell #27 of the Chicago Cubs in the sixth inning during the game at PNC Park on September 26, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 6
Next
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: For the Cubbies, it’s “who’s on second?”

The fallback option

The best thing Descalso has going for him is his contract. The Chicago Cubs owe him $2.5 million this season, plus another $1 million buyout for 2021 if they don’t keep him. Given the club’s payroll situation – which is expected to exceed the luxury tax level for a second consecutive season – the team may be hesitant to pay Descalso that much money to go away.

Descalso is cashing in on a 2018 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks that was modest by most standards but strong by his. He delivered a .353 on-base percentage and 13 home runs in 423 plate appearances that added up to a 108 OPS+.

Cubs President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoerner, looking for temporary help while Russell sat out what remained of his suspension and also cover on the chance that Russell continued to be ineffective when he returned, persuaded themselves that Descalso’s 2018 made him their guy.

More. 3 Things You Didn't Know About Michael Lorenzen. light

Had they looked at the rest of Descalso’s record they may have concluded otherwise. A career .235 batter, he hit. 173 for the Cubs, starting only four times after June 1.

Those 13 2018 home runs? They magically reduced to just two in 2019.

Descalso has never been an asset in the field, and 2019 was no different. He produced -16 defensive runs saved at second base.

So unless Descalso shows something unexpected during the spring-like offense and defense – Ross’s choices will be to carry him as a substitute middle infielder or release him and eat the $3.5 million.

Likelihood of Descalso as the opening day starter at second base: 3 percent