Four fallback outfield options for Cubs
Duvall has some pop in his bat (Jay Biggerstaff - USA Today Sports)

Four fallback outfield options for Cubs

by - Senior Writer -

Any you want to look at things, most fans will feel the Chicago Cubs have failed this offseason. Even if they were to add a guy like Matt Chapman or Jordan Montgomery, who would make this team better, missing out on Cody Bellinger seems like a failure at this point, which is why the Cubs continue to play the waiting game for him.

They know how important he was to the team's success last season and what he means to this group. They also understand that he isn't worth the Scott Boras asking price, so they are willing to play hardball the rest of the way. If that works out in their favor, then he will be welcomed back to Wrigley with open arms.

However, you also have that scenario where the waiting game doesn't work in their favor and will leave a gaping hole that must be filled in their lineup. Who fills that hole is the bigger question, but there are some secondary OF options to consider that would at least help for the time being.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs have been listed as one of eight teams still in the market for an OF, which shouldn't shock you, considering the Bellinger situation. Apart from him, Adam Duvall could be a name to watch as he would, at the very least, provide some thump to the middle of the lineup.

At 35 years old, Duvall is not the ideal candidate for an OF piece and would be better suited for the DH role. That may not be the end of the world, as Pete Crow-Armstrong and Mike Tauchman would get everyday reps early. When it comes to Duvall, you know what you are going to get with him, and it is something this team could use.

Duvall is coming off a season where he hit .247 with 21 homers, but with only 58 RBIs there was a alot to be desired. Keep in mind this is a player with three 30-homer seasons, including a career-high 38 in 2021, when he also drove in a career-high 113 runs with the Braves. He has big-time power potential and would look good in the middle of this lineup. His biggest issue at this point is the plate discipline, as he averages less than 25 walks per season to go with 100 or more strikeouts.

If the Cubs are looking for more of a complete OF, as in someone who can play defense and hit the ball, Randal Grichuk and Tommy Pham are still out there, and both fit the Cub's need to add a CF. Like Duvall, Pham is on the older side of things at 35, but you would never guess that based on how he has played the past few seasons.

After opening the season with the Mets last year, Pham was traded to the Diamondbacks and played a role in the World Series run last year. He hit a .256, which is right along his career average while connecting for 16 homers and 68 RBIs. The RBIs were the second-highest total of his career, while the homers were the fourth-highest as he still has some production left in that bat.

Pham can also run and has several seasons of 20-plus steals. He only had 11 last season but has averaged around 15 per season for his career, as the Cubs did a lot more running last season than in the past. Pham also spent plenty of time with the Cardinals and has historically good numbers against the NL Central.

Another player the Cubs are very familiar with is Grichuk, who spent his first several years with St. Louis. Like Pham, Grichuk has always hit the NL Central well, but with a .288 career average at Wrigley, it would be interesting to see what he could do when you play 81 games there. Younger than both Duvall and Pham, Grichuk is still 32, so his best days are behind him at this point.

Even at that, this is someone who can still play above-average defense and can do things on the offensive end. Grichuk put together an overall good season in 2023, where he combined to hit .267. However, the .308 average with the Rockies helped, as he hit just .216 with the Angels following the trade.

On a 25-30 homer hitter, Grichuk is no longer that type of player but still has 15-20 homer potential as he connected for 16 long balls last season. He would be the perfect No. 4 OF on this team as he can fill all three OF spots if needed.

The final OF we will talk about today is known more for his defense than anything in Michael A. Taylor. Primarily a role player with Washington until late in his career, Taylor had a chance to prove himself with the Royals and Twins the past few years and showed he could at least be a serviceable player with a good glove.

Not much of a hitter with a sub .250 average, Taylor hit just .221 this season, but many of his hits did damage. He connected for a career-high 21 homers and drove in 51, which was the third-highest total of his career. Throw in his 13 steals and his abilities to crush lefties, and Taylor is a compelling pickup to use as a fourth OF for a team that could be looking at the OF market in the coming weeks.

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