With universal designated hitter slated to return for 2022, here are four options the Chicago Cub should sign.
The status of the 2022 MLB season remains in question with the lockout still in effect. Even with the lack of news, commissioner Rob Manfred revealed that the owners agreed on bringing back the universal designated hitter position. That possesses an advantage for National League teams looking to add another power bat to their lineup.
One team that should be in the market for a designated hitter is the Chicago Cubs. Whenever the lockout ends and major league transactions can be made, they should make a run at these four players.
Signing Kyle Schwarber is perhaps the most popular option for Cubs fans, and it makes the most sense. After his option was declined for the 2021 season, Schwarber signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals. After having a historic home runs streak, Schwarber was traded to the Boston Red Sox at the deadline.
In his first season away from the Cubs, Schwarber slashed .266/.374/.554 while recording 32 home runs, 71 RBI and 106 hits.
Bringing back Schwarber would be a huge addition for the Cubs, but they may have some competition for him once the lockout ends.
With the news of universal designated hitter returning, that means there are more options for veteran Nelson Cruz.
Even entering his age 41 season, Cruz still possesses power that teams will trade for. Just last season, Cruz was traded by the Minnesota Twins to the Tampa Bay Rays after hitting 19 home runs and recording a .537 slugging percentage in 85 games.
Overall, Cruz recorded a .265 batting average, 32 home runs and 86 RBI through 140 games.
The Cubs should absolutely consider signing Cruz.
Cubs fans know all too well about Albert Pujols, considering he spent 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Wouldn’t it be something if Chicago managed to sign Pujols away from their hated NL Central rivals?
At the start of the 2021 season, Pujols was waived by the Los Angeles Angels after 24 games. He then signed with the Dodgers and his numbers improved. Through 85 games, Pujols slashed .254/.299/.460 while recording 12 home runs, 38 RBI and 48 hits.
Yes, Pujols is near the end of his career, but he could be a good part-time designated hitter for Chicago.
There is another former Chicago Cub in free agency that the organization to bring back, and that is Jorge Soler.
The outfielder made his MLB debut debut with the Cubs in 2014 and spent a total of three seasons with the team. After the 2016 season, Chicago traded Soler to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for relief pitcher Wade Davis. In 2019, Soler led the entire American League with 33 home runs.
At the 2021 trade deadline, Soler was traded to the Atlanta Braves, who added multiple outfielders after Ronald Acuña tore his ACL. As it turned out, adding Soler was a huge move for general manager Alex Anthopoulos in helping the team win their first Commissioner’s Trophy since 1995.
In the World Series, Soler recorded a .300 batting average, an .800 slugging-percentage, three home runs and six RBI. Soler was named the World Series MVP.
Given the postseason that Soler had with the Braves, the Cubs should consider re-signing Soler.