Looking ahead with Jed Hoyer to the 2022 Chicago Cubs

Sep 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel (18) is greeted after hitting a grand slam home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel (18) is greeted after hitting a grand slam home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Patrick Wisdom.  Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Wisdom.  Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Patrick Wisdom

If Hoyer wants to alienate the base of Cub fandom this winter, he’ll release Wisdom or keep him only as a minimally paid filler player.

Yet those may be his best, most logical options.

Through the team’s dark days of mid-June through July, Wisdom was the unlikely star of the disappointing lineup. From June 14 through July 31, the Chicago Cubs went 13-28, bad enough to send Hoyer into full teardown mode. Wisdom, salvaged as a free agent the previous winter, was the offensive exception, producing a credible .247/.320/.478 slash line during that period.

Since Aug. 1, however, Wisdom’s performance line has come back to earth. In nearly 140 plate appearances since then, he’s batted under .200 with a 43 percent strikeout rate.

All that suggests Wisdom’s impressive first half may have been one of those fleeting moments in a journeyman’s career rather than an indicator of his true potential.

In September, he’s homerless in 38 plate appearances with just three base hits, amounting to an .088 average.

Wisdom isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2024, so he’s a cheap keep for Hoyer this winter. At the same time, it should not come as a surprise if Hoyer devotes at least part of that extensive unallocated team budget to finding a new third baseman, consigning Wisdom to competing for backup duty…much as he’s always done.