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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David Bote.
David Bote. /

David Bote

Last year, the Chicago Cubs committed to Bote through 2026, buying out all his arbitration-eligible seasons plus his first two seasons of potential free agency.

At the time it was envisioned as a security-blanket kind of move in the event Kris Bryant was either traded away or departed via free agency. Bote, like Bryant, is basically a third baseman.

In the interim, though, Bote has failed to produce reliable offense while playing either third or second. In July the Cubs acquired Nick Madrigal from the crosstown White Sox to play second base in 2022, limiting the options with Bote.

As long as he’s testing the limits of the Mendoza line, those options are already limited. Bote’s batting .197 this season, that following on the heels of a .200 2020. His career .390 slugging average isn’t especially impressive for a purported power guy.

You can try to make the argument that Bote has been hitting in bad luck. His 21 percent strikeout rate is acceptable for a power hitter and on the good side of the major league average. His average exit velocity, in the 96th percentile, lends further credence to the idea that Bote is a guy whose luck will turn any moment now.

For the next few years, anyway, the Chicago Cubs don’t have a lot of options with Bote. They can keep him, cut him or trade him – not that .200 hitting sluggers are tradable — but whatever they do they owe him $2.5 million next year, climbing steadily to $7.6 million by 2026.

If anything, the likelihood of Bote losing his second base job to Madrigal next year—which forces him to third base – only increases the likelihood that the Cubs sever their tie to Wisdom.