Chicago Cubs: Matt Duffy signing is a quality depth move

Matt Duffy #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays makes a throw to first base for an out during the second inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field on September 16, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images)
Matt Duffy #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays makes a throw to first base for an out during the second inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Tropicana Field on September 16, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Cubs picked up a quality minor league signing in Matt Duffy.

While the market for big-name free agents across baseball remains slow to develop, teams have been active in adding depth via minor league deals, including the Chicago Cubs.

On Monday afternoon, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Chicago Cubs have reached an agreement with free agent infielder Matt Duffy on a minor league deal. He will reportedly make $1 million if he makes the major league roster and can earn up to an extra $500,000 in incentives, per Nightengale.

There’s no such thing as a bad minor league signing. That’s especially true when it comes to Matt Duffy.

Duffy made his mark on the league back in 2015 with the San Francisco Giants. Worth 4.4 Wins Above Replacement that season, Duffy hit .295 with 12 home runs and a 113 wRC+ in 149 games, all while playing a decent third base.

His production dipped in 2016 when he was eventually traded to Tampa Bay for starting pitcher Matt Moore. He rebounded well in 2018 after missing the entire 2017 season with an Achilles injury.

His 2018 season was the last major chunk of playing time Duffy has had in the major leagues, hitting .294 with a .361 OBP and a 107 wRC+ (2.5 fWAR). Unfortunately, it’s been a battle over the last two years, including struggling in limited playing time with Tampa Bay in 2019 and an inability to appear in the major leagues in 2020 after spending time with the Giants and Yankees.

For the Chicago Cubs, Duffy is a low-risk, moderate-reward type signing. He likely won’t ever a 4+ WAR player again in his career, but he is a career .282 hitter who can play a solid third base and has experience all around the infield.

Duffy has also hit right-handed pitching well across his career, slashing .290/.338/.395 in over 1,200 plate appearances.

As a depth piece, he’s a quality minor league signing with a reliable glove and ability to handle righties. It’s hard to get mad about this signing. If Chicago ends up trading multiple major league pieces, there are plenty of other worse options than Duffy out there to step up.

And without much infield depth currently on the roster, Duffy could easily find his way onto the major league roster with a good spring training.

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The market may be slow, but teams are quietly finding a few quality depth signings right now and the Chicago Cubs addition of Matt Duffy is certainly one of those.