The Chicago Cubs might be looking to make a move at second base after spending the winter looking like they were content with the logjam of mediocrity currently available. Jordan Bastion reported on Twitter that the team has been in contact with free-agent second baseman Jason Kipnis.
The former Cleveland Indians star could be the third player the Cubs have acquired on an actual Major League deal this offseason. Some fans are convinced that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are finally looking to fill holes on the roster.
On the other hand, it’s not clear what kind of offensive hole Jason Kipnis can fill these days. There was a time when he was considered one of the best hitting second baseman in baseball. Ironically, Kipnis hasn’t been considered an offensive game-changer since 2016, the same year the Cleveland Indians squared off against the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.
Bastion pointed out that despite Kipnis’ offensive skills being on the decline, he could still be a valuable piece for Chicago, especially considering the alternatives are Daniel Descalso, Ian Happ or a giant question mark. The second baseman slugged just.342 against lefties but posted a very respectable.446 slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers.
Bastion also pointed out Jason Kipnis is a former teammate of one of the newest members of the Chicago Cubs coaching staff. He and Mike Napoli were teammates in Cleveland.
Bleacher Nation‘s Brett Taylor pointed out the real value of Kipnis isn’t his bat. The free-agent is still an above-average defender. Chicago had plenty of offensive woes with their middle infielders in 2019 but that was nothing compared to their defensive struggles.
If the Chicago Cubs do sign Kipnis in the coming days, he would be the third signing for the team since the new year. While none of the signings have been of the blockbuster variety, the team has attempted to improve the bullpen with former Milwaukee Brewer Jeremy Jeffress. The front office also attempted to address the hole left in the outfield with Stephen Souza.
There is definitely something the three signings have in common. All three players are coming off seasons that hint at a downturn in their careers and relatively cheap contracts. The potential signing also raises at least one question when it comes to the Chicago Cubs’ plans. Rumors earlier this month had the team interested in signing another free-agent second baseman it would then hope was due for a bounceback season. Taylor pointed out it’s unlikely both Jason Kipnis and Scooter Gennett are in the front office’s plans.