Cubs add depth with outfielder pickup
Kelvin Kuo - USA Today Sports

Cubs add depth with outfielder pickup

by - Senior Writer -

If the past three offseasons have taught us anything about the Chicago Cubs, it would be that they care equally as much about Minor League depth as they do big-league talent. That would be alright if this team were winning ball games consistently, but it has been a long time since that happened, which is why most fans grow frustrated at some of the off-season decisions they make.

With Spring Training roughly a month away, the Cubs continue to add to their roster as they want to bring in as much talent as possible. Whether this is for depth purposes or other reasons remains to be seen, but this team loves to take a chance on under-the-radar guys and hope to catch lightning in a bottle. If it works, great, but if it doesn't, you are looking at another long season and one that would continue to be part of a rebuilding plan.

In need of potential OF help with Narcisco Crook and Michael Hermosillo no longer in the organization, the Cubs added to their Minor League OF pool by signing Mike Tauchman to a Minor League deal. This deal also benefits him as it comes with an invitation to Spring Training as he could compete for the fourth OF position.

Another veteran in terms of overall experience, Tauchman is 32 years old and has been a part of professional ball for a decade. The 2022 season saw him spend time in the KBO, where he hit .289/.366/.430. Those would be numbers good enough to keep you on a major league roster, but he couldn't post those numbers before his time in the KBO.

Mainly an up-and-down roster fringe guy for the Rockies and Yankees, Tauchman spent the 2021 season in AAA, where he hit .266/.370/.438 as part of the Giants organization. Those numbers earned him a call-up, but he could not match that performance hitting just 181/.284/.283. Going back a bit further, Tauchman was at his best in 2019 when he hit .277/.361/.504 with the New York Yankees. Some might recognize his name from that season, but I can't blame you if you don't.

Like many of the Cubs free agent pickups this season, Tauchman is a left-handed hitting OF, which they wanted to address on their roster. While his offense has been inconsistent most of his career, Tauchman could provide the Cubs with great depth as he can play all three OF positions.

He plays all three of them well while providing good defense and extraordinary baserunning abilities, and he is a solid bench option on the right team. Even at that, it may take an injury or two during camp for him to reach the majors, especially when Brennen Davis and others are going to get looks. However, even if he does end up in AAA, keeping him in their organization is a good idea.

Should he land in AAA Iowa, which seems like the most likely destination, Tauchman would provide the Cubs with great OF depth down there, but could be more. With Alexander Canario hurt, an uncertain future on Davis, and the possibility of Darius Hill making the Majors out of camp, Tauchman could be an everyday player in AAA.

That would allow him to showcase his abilities and what he can do when given the opportunity. After all, all it takes is for one team to like what they see if the Cubs won't give him a chance, and that could be enough for him to potentially earn a big-league shot somewhere else.

The Cubs probably want more flexibility to pull someone up from Iowa if necessary and also have Ben Deluzio in on a minor-league deal. Those would be the most likely candidates to be the first OF options called up if one of the young kids isn't.

This is another one of those no-risk deals for the Cubs, as they are only on the hook for a little if it doesn't work out. If it does, it shows you that there are some diamonds in the rough out there that no one talks about. Tauchman will cherish this opportunity, as he hails from the Chicago area, so this becomes a great homecoming for him.

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