Jake Marisnick represents an important depth piece for 2021 Cubs
Just before their first full-squad workout, the Cubs put the finishing touches on their outfield group with the signing of Jake Marisnick.
The move was made official Saturday evening, with outfielder Phillip Ervin (a waiver claim in December) designated for assignment to create room on the roster.
Marisnick represents a valuable depth piece for the team on a big-league deal for 2021 with a mutual option for 2022. He turns 30 in March and has played 701 MLB games in his career, hitting .229 with a .666 OPS.
The veteran can play all three outfield spots but has mostly seen time in center field and has drawn high marks for his defense with 71 Defensive Runs Saved over his career.
He also possesses good speed (73 stolen bases) and some power (56 homers) and as a right-handed hitter, he has fared a bit better when facing southpaws than righties.
Marisnick spent most of his career with the Houston Astros before he was traded to the Mets last winter. He appeared in only 16 games in New York last season, hitting .333 with a .959 OPS over that time.
The former 3rd-round pick boasts extensive postseason experience, with a .333 average in 23 games between 2015-19.
The Cubs outfield has undergone a lot of change this winter after they non-tendered Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. in December. Jed Hoyer’s front office added Joc Pederson earlier this month and now the Marisnick signing provides another important piece.
Hoyer said Pederson will be an everyday player for the Cubs, but he and Jason Heyward could see time off against a tough left-handed starting pitcher. That leaves room for Marisnick to potentially slot in and give manager David Ross another right-handed bat in the lineup against southpaws.
Marisnick also provides much-needed experience in center field as depth behind Ian Happ. Pederson and Heyward have played center as well, but they’ve mostly manned the corner outfield spots in recent years.
Marisnick will likely fill multiple roles for the Cubs in 2021: bench bat, defensive replacement, spot starter, pinch-runner.