Well this softens the blow a little bit, right?
David Bote is going to be the Cubs Opening Day second baseman:
David Ross on Hoerner demotion: "Its a little less about Nico and more about David Bote."
Ross says Bote is the starter at 2b
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) March 27, 2021
Last night, Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers reported that fan-favorite (and probably the Cubs best long-term option at second base) Nico Hoerner was being optioned out of big league camp, presumably to work on his offensive approach at the alternate site and eventually Triple-A Iowa.
At the time, the move was reported in conjunction with Eric Sogard making the team, which led us to believe he might be the Cubs starting second baseman come April 1st. But now, we’ve learned that David Bote, not Sogard, is going to be the guy. And I can get behind that.
No one will confuse Bote’s glove for Hoerner’s at second base – and that might hurt with a rotation full of guys who thrive on inducing contact (not strikeouts) – but his bat has more immediate upside as *at least* a near-league average overall producer, particularly against right-handed pitching, where his career 105 wRC+ should play just fine.
And if Bote is able to tap into something greater offensively – which is certainly a possibility with more consistent playing time – the Cubs will have learned something very important for the long-term (he’s under team control through 2026).
Long-term, I don’t think Bote is going to be the guy up the middle, but if his bat plays, and Kris Bryant leaves after this season (or sooner), the Cubs could have a nice affordable player for third base (and maybe then Hoerner re-inherits second base). By contrast, if Bote’s bat is something less than we’re hoping to see, at least he was given a shot and he can be moved back into the complimentary role that has suited him throughout his Cubs career.
Theoretically (ideally?), transitional years like this come around rarely. So if you are able to find some everyday starters in the rough by testing guys out, you have to take advantage. At least the upside with Bote is greater than Sogard.