October 19, 2013


As we discussed, the Cubs upper level minor league system has no upgrade in talent for the 2014 Cubs major league roster.

With the front office focus on the low minors and acquiring multiple prospects in trades, the Cubs have only looked to the second tier of free agency to fill gaps in the starting pitching corps.

However, it is apparent that the Cubs infield underperformed as a unit.  The third base platoon may have put up respectable gross numbers in some areas, its BA and OBP were below par. Rizzo at first base was in the middle of the league in terms of production (which shows how down the 1B position is in the NL). Castro's woes at short put him near the bottom with a negative 0.1 WAR. And Barney was was of the worst overall starters at second, despite his stellar defensive stats.

So if the Cubs are going to at least "try" to make an effort to show some life on the corpse that is the Cubs, lest not another Edwin Jackson signing, but to shore up the infield via free agency, here are the names that are available (player age):

Second basemen
Yuniesky Betancourt (32)
Robinson Cano (31)
Alexi Casilla (29)
Jamey Carroll (40)
Omar Infante (32)
Kelly Johnson (32)
Nick Punto (36)
Brian Roberts (36)
Ramon Santiago (34)
Skip Schumaker (34)

Clint Barmes (35)
Willie Bloomquist (36)
Jamey Carroll (40)
Alexi Casilla (29)
Stephen Drew (31)
Rafael Furcal (36)
Alex Gonzalez (36)
Cesar Izturis (34)
John McDonald (39)
Jhonny Peralta (32)
Brendan Ryan (32)

Third basemen
Yuniesky Betancourt (32)
Jamey Carroll (40)
Eric Chavez (36)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (38)
Brandon Inge (37)
Casey McGehee (31)
Placido Polanco (38)
Mark Reynolds (30)
Juan Uribe (34)
Kevin Youkilis (35)
Michael Young (37)

The Cubs have already said that they will not spend big money in the free agent market this off-season. Since the Cubs are "all in" on the youth movement,  none of the 33 year old or above players will be on the radar. Looking at the 30 or under crowd, we find only Casilla and Reynolds.

Casilla can play short and second. In his 8 years with the Twins and Orioles, he has a career .248 BA, 12 HR, 157 RBI, .302 OBP, 80 SB and career 4.1 WAR. Last year he only hit a measly .214.

Reynolds can play third and first. In his 7 years, lastly with the Orioles and Yanks, he has a career .233 BA, 202 HR, 586 RBI, .300 OBP, 52 SB and career 6.3 WAR. Last season he hit 21 HR, 67 RBI with a .220 BA.

Both Casilla and Reynolds are not prime free agents. They both grade out to bench-utility level players at this point in their careers. Reynolds has always had the power stroke but it is a feast and famine approach to hitting which Epstein-sabremetrics people abhor.

So it is highly unlikely the Cubs will upgrade their starting infield next year via the free agent market.