Nate Schierholtz? Didn’t see this one coming, but it falls right in line with the Cubs’ course of action this offseason–patching up holes with affordable stop-gap players.
First Scott Baker ($5.5M), then Dioner Navarro ($1.75M), next Scott Feldman ($4.5M) and now Schierholtz ($2.25M).
The upside for Schierholtz is his left-handed bat and ability to play both corner outfield positions. He’s also in his prime, 28, and could stay under team control for a second season if all goes well in 2013…or could be used as trade bait come July.
In the meantime his signing adds outfield depth with the likelihood Soriano is dealt before Opening Day. With David DeJesus moving to center Schierholtz projects as the starting right fielder leaving Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt, Tony Campana and Bryan Bogusevic filling-in as needed.
Schierholtz is far from a splash signing, but he does fill a need and comes with low-risk, high-reward potential.
Given the Cubs’ track record this offseason it appears we should expect a similar signing for third base and at least one more bullpen arm; the two biggest remaining needs.
Perhaps the relief arm can be filled by RHP Hector Rondon (Indians) who the Cubs selected in the Rule 5 Draft this morning. Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of time this winter to find a couple more serviceable players before the spring.
Of course none of the players the Cubs have added this winter can be considered a sure-thing, including Kyugi Fujikawa, but those they have signed should help stop the bleeding of a 101-loss team. That’s an important first order of business and a reminder patience is a virtue.