To this point in the offseason, the Chicago Cubs have remained relatively quiet.
Their marquee signing so far was Kyuji Fujikawa, who will apparently be the setup man for Carlos Marmol, until the latter is either traded or has a meltdown by the end of April.
Ian Stewart has also been brought back, along with the signing of Nate Schierholtz. The two appear to have given the Cubs their starting lineup for the 2013 season, as ugly as it seems.
There will be at least a few other players that the Cubs take a look at this winter, whether it’s through free agency or through trade. But there’s one player that the Chicago Cubs should take a low-to-no-risk gamble on: Chone Figgins, who was released prior to the non-tender deadline.
Figgins turned out to be one of the biggest free agent busts in baseball history, after he signed a monster contract with the Seattle Mariners. The deal obviously did not work out for a variety of reasons, and now Figgins is looking for work, which won’t be easy. The Cubs should be more than happy to oblige, though.
Right now, as bad as the team is overall, there are a few areas on this roster where the biggest issues remain. Despite bringing Stewart back, third base is still a wild card. So is the outfield, especially if the team chooses to deal Alfonso Soriano or David DeJesus. Figgins is capable of playing both.
He’s also a speedy guy, so he’d fill the current hole in the leadoff spot. DeJesus filled in admirably, but he’s not the type of guy you want leading off, because he lacks the speed to be as effective as possible from that spot.
A contract for Figgins obviously wouldn’t cost much. He’s 34 and trying to latch on with a team to play out the last couple years of his career. Signing with the Cubs would present each party with benefits. The Cubs add a player who fills a need, while Figgins positions himself to head off to a contender at the trade deadline. If the deal backfires, then it’s a low-risk gamble.
Figgins is absolutely the type of guy I could see the Cubs pursuing at some point this winter. Assuming Ian Stewart is healthy, Figgins could end up playing in the outfield, and putting Schierholtz on the bench as a fourth outfielder, which is probably what he’s best suited for.