With COVID starting to give the Cubs the business and then a variety of injuries, there’s a lot to keep up with these last few days of the season …
Zach Davies‘ season is over. It doesn’t sound injury-related, but instead is just a decision not to have him make another start. After being acquired as part of the Yu Darvish trade, Davies turned in, by far, the worst season of his career: 5.78 ERA, 5.44 FIP, 148.0 IP. He is headed to free agency for the first time now at age 28, and he’ll likely have to settle for a very cheap one-year deal to try to rebuild value. I don’t expect it to be with the Cubs.
Nico Hoerner‘s season is also over for sure, and he’ll head into the offseason focusing on whatever he needs to do to stay healthy next year, and also to be able to play all over the field: “Flexibility is something that definitely helps in a situation like that. I really believe in my ability to play shortstop. And I’m going to prepare to play there at an everyday level if that’s the opportunity. If it’s somewhere else, then I’ll do that. The chance to play in the middle of the field every day for the Chicago Cubs is pretty awesome, regardless of where it is. So I think I’ll always have that in the back of my head.” I don’t expect the Cubs to head into 2022 with only Hoerner available as the everyday shortstop (they would be crazy to structure their offseason that way), but I do expect him to be a semi-regular in the lineup at a variety of spots if he can just stay healthy.
David Bote left last night’s game with a shoulder issue – the same shoulder he dislocated earlier this year – and although he’ll be reevaluated today, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s now done for the year, too. It was a brutal 2021 season for Bote, who not only missed time with the injury, but also hit just .199/.276/.330 (64 wRC+) after opening the season with a real chance to win the second base job. Bote, 28, is owed $2.5M next year, $4M in 2023, and $5.5M in 2024, with team options for the following two years.
Patrick Wisdom and Austin Romine are on the IL with no injury designation and no corresponding 40-man move, so we know it has to be the COVID IL, even if that’s not being said out loud by the team. The question is whether anyone else tests positive before the season is up. Romine’s season ends having been completely marred by injuries, and Wisdom’s ends on a downward note as he couldn’t keep the strikeout rate enough in check to let the power play. After those SCORCHING first two weeks, Wisdom’s overall numbers wound up being slightly below average. But he did set the Cubs rookie home run record, and that was fun to see. I expect he’ll enter next year in the mix for semi-regular playing time, but should not necessarily be handed the everyday third base job, depending on what becomes available this offseason.