Buried in a (good) article on the state of things at the break and the situation as it relates to possible lame-duck manager Joe Maddon, Jesse Rogers slipped in one of those little tidbits that you notice when a writer has heard a little something and wants to get it out there (maybe without pushing it TOO hard).
“Side note: It wouldn’t hurt if the front office found a better on-base threat from outside the organization. While many are focused on Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield, he’ll carry a hefty price tag. A player like Toronto Blue Jays infielder Eric Sogard won’t. The Cubs were interested in him during the offseason, according to sources, but signed Daniel Descalso instead. Sogard has a .372 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot this season after signing a minor league deal this past winter. He’d be worth a flier and shouldn’t cost nearly as much as Merrifield.”
That’s a rather specific mention there, and it’s interesting to learn that the Cubs wanted to take a flyer on Sogard in the offseason, though he ultimately chose a minor league deal with the Blue Jays.
Since then, the 33-year-old utility man (second base, mostly) has been fantastic in 60 games with Toronto, hitting .294/.364/.478 (124 wRC+), while running the bases well and playing his typical average-ish defense. Sogard was a long-time light-hitting utility man with the A’s before he became a slightly-above-average hitter with the Brewers in 2017. He fell completely off a cliff last year, hence the minor league signing.
Sogard’s BABIP (.312) is definitely elevated for his career, but it’s not so high that it makes you think fluke. He’s not striking out at all, he walks a lot, and he’s hitting for just enough power – some of that would probably taper off as the year goes on, because it looks like he’s netted quite a few just-barely-got-out homers. As a lefty bat the Cubs could slot in regularly atop the order and see what’s what? Of course, acquire him cheaply if you can.
But can you?
MLBTR recently profiled Sogard as a compelling Trade Deadline piece, and it’s likely his resurgence is going to get a lot of teams interested, especially knowing that he’s not going to command a top prospect. The Cubs have a ton of options at second base already (and Ben Zobrist will return eventually (and Ian Happ is seeing more time there)), so is Sogard enough of a “guy” to slot right in, or he is just another “option”? If he’s the latter – and you do wonder whether the power production falls way off in the second half – then does he upgrade the Cubs enough compared to other teams out there with far fewer “options” at second base? If not, those other teams will rationally pay more.
Something to keep an eye on.
Also, dude probably would become a cult hero on the basis of his glasses, alone: