The Cubs’ borderline outfield options continue to swell.
Joel Sherman reports that the Cubs have signed former Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan to a split minor league deal, where he’ll make $800,000 if he makes the team, plus another $250,000 in possible bonuses. He can opt out of the minor league deal if he’s not called up by June 15. For now, he’ll head to Spring Training and try and win a job.
Coghlan, 28, hasn’t been able to do much since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2009, mostly because of an ever-growing strikeout rate. Last year, in part-time duty, he hit just .256/.318/.354 (and actually featured a reverse split, batting much better against lefties than righties). For his career, the lefty-hitting Coghlan has hit .279/.344/.410 against righties, which ain’t too shabby.
Coghlan can play any of the outfield positions, though FanGraphs indicates he isn’t great at it.
The Cubs weren’t able to make a significant upgrade in the outfield this offseason, and will head into the year with a mix of platoon types and quality fourth outfielders. With Coghlan, Ryan Sweeney, and Nate Schierholtz as lefty platoon candidates (plus, theoretically, Brett Jackson, Ryan Kalish and Mitch Maier), and Junior Lake, Justin Ruggiano, and Casper Wells (and Josh Vitters, Darnell McDonald and Aaron Cunningham) from the right-hand side, the Cubs will have a number of mix-match options available. Cobbling together a starting caliber output from the group as a whole might not be impossible.
In the end, getting a guy like Coghlan on a minor league deal is pretty nice.