As expected, the Chicago Cubs are searching far and wide for a new first baseman. The search is taking them outside of the free agent market (and yes, even outside the Adrian Gonzalez trade market), and the team has begun discussions on a potential deal or two to fill the position.
One of which has the Cubs trying to pry loose a forgotten first baseman from the Texas Rangers.
Hendry has had numerous meetings with representatives for free agents and has talked to other teams about trade possibilities. The Cubs and Texas Rangers were scheduled to get together to talk about possible matchups. Texas has a need for catching and the Cubs have two solid young catchers in Welington Castillo and Robinson Chirinos. Texas has an abundance of good hitting in their organization and they have excess at first base, a position where the Cubs have a need.
Left-handed hitting Chris Davis is a home-run hitter who turns 25 in March. Davis only played 45 games for the Rangers in 2010. However, in 2008 and 2009 combined he hit 37 home runs in 193 games. The Cubs could make Davis their everyday first baseman and put the money they have available this offseason toward starting pitching and the bullpen.
“This year we obviously need a first baseman for sure,” Hendry said. “But there is a large group of free agents and there are trade possibilities as well. I think there is going to be more volume at that position than what people need at that position.” ESPN Chicago.
The Rangers appear to be content to proceed with Mitch Moreland at first base going forward, so moving Davis makes a lot of sense. As Levine points out, Davis played in just 45 games last year for the Rangers and struggled mightily. After breaking into the bigs in 2008 with huge numbers in 80 games, Davis had a so-so 2009. While Davis would be an option at first (certainly an inexpensive one), the Cubs shouldn’t be looking at him as a definite solution. Castillo or Chirinos would probably be a fair exchange for the stock-down Davis, and might be a good move from the Cubs’ perspective, as whichever of the two doesn’t win the back-up catcher job will be completely blocked.
I must confess that I had a source come to me with a Davis rumor a few days ago, but I hesitated on running with it. Apologies to the source, and nice to see some outside confirmation.