ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted yesterday evening that the Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Nate Schierholtz. The deal is worth $2.25 million with another $200,000 in incentives a possibility, pending a physical.
Theo Epstein has certainly been active this offseason, although none of the moves that have been made so far could be considered to put the Cubs over the top. It’s reminiscent of a sailor simply plugging the holes in a ship’s damaged hull, trying to hold off sinking before he gets back to shore and do a major repair.
Schierholtz, the latest signing, is not much more than a Band-Aid on the Cubs’ outfield woes. It being a one-year deal further solidifies that point. However, as of right now, he is the everyday right fielder. That gives the team a projected outfield of Alfonso Soriano in left field, David DeJesus in center field and Schierholtz in right field.
Not very intimidating.
Schierholtz is a bottom of the lineup hitter who will bring a .270 batting average and about 10 home runs to the Cubs’ lineup. He was garnering interest from nine teams recently, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. The Cubs give Schierholtz the opportunity to be a true everyday player for the first time in his career, which is most likely why he opted to sign with the Cubs over the other suitors.
Schierhotlz has been a platoon player thus far in his career. He’s not known for his speed or his ability to get on base, although it should be noted that he doesn’t strike out much. He does have issues with staying healthy, and has been a frequent visitor to the DL the past few years.
He is a solid defender, and with added plate appearances, may be able to improve his offensive production as an everyday player. He will probably be slotted in the No. 7 hole of the Cubs’ lineup.
Schierholtz is a low-risk signing for the Cubs due to the length of the contract and the amount of money involved. He is not the long-term answer in the answer in the outfield, but will probably hold down a starting role until Cubs prospect Brett Jackson is ready.