Last season, Nate Schierholtz was very solid for the Chicago Cubs. He showed nice power with 21 home runs and 32 doubles in 462 at-bats, while playing respectable defense in right field. Schierholtz has always struggled against left-handed pitching, but he does a nice job against right-handers. He is never going to be an All-Star caliber player, but he has great value as a platoon corner outfielder.
While they have an impressive crop of young minor league talent, the Cubs are not expected to be competitive in the near future. Because of this and the fact that he is 30-years old, it is unlikely that Schierholtz fits in the Cubs’ future plans. With a stockpile of interesting, young outfielders looking for a MLB job on the Cubs’ roster this spring, I think making Schierholtz available in a trade makes a ton of sense.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports suggests that the Cubs are thinking the same thing.
Cubs OF Nate Schierholtz could be available via trade, as a result of Ryan Kalish’s progress. LH bat, unknown if he is a fit for Detroit.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 10, 2014
I find it very interesting that Morosi specifically mentions Ryan Kalish in this tweet. Kalish is a 25-year-old outfielder who was once a top prospect in the Boston Red Sox system. His connections to the Cubs’ front office are obvious, as current Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer were the GM and assistant GM in Boston when the team drafted Kalish in the 2006 draft.
Kalish has great speed and athleticism, and he is a good defender. He has never been able to put it all together at the plate, but he has shown some signs of life this spring. The Cubs obviously like the upside that Kalish presents, and appear to want to see him make the Opening Day roster.
Unfortunately, with Schierholtz, Junior Lake, Ryan Sweeney and Justin Ruggiano already obviously outfield candidates for the roster, and in a glut of infielders who are likely to make the team, there just does not seem to be enough room on the roster for Kalish.
Schierholtz simply has more value to a competitive team than he does to the Cubs. Like Morosi mentions, the Detroit Tigers make plenty of sense, as do the Philadelphia Phillies, who are desperate for a left-handed hitting outfielder. The Cubs would not land a huge haul for Schierholtz, but he is valuable enough to bring a couple of legitimate prospects. On top of that, it would create a spot for the Cubs to see what they have in Kalish early this season.
Epstein and Hoyer are always looking for an opportunity to create value from a player who does not fit in their future plans. Trading Schierholtz seems like a perfect example of that.