After the Cubs won a silly game on Friday, coupled with some key division rivals losing their games later on that night, we find our favorite team still sitting on top of the baseball world with a commanding NL Central lead. I’m going to Sunday’s game with a friend, for Jake Arrieta Day (yay), and while I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch, so to speak, I think I’m justified in feeling PRETTY confident about this Cubs team right now.
One thing that I kept thinking about as the Cubs roared back from the brink of disaster (oh noes, their lead shrunk to like four games, help) was whether there would be a time late in the season where Joe Maddon would allow one of his players to check off all the spots on the diamond. The only interleague series in September is early on, against the currently-languishing, but extremely talented, Houston Astros. So that would be pretty much the only opportunity for Maddon to start a guy at DH, then lose the DH for the rest of the game while that player circled the diamond. Otherwise, the Cubs finish up the month against division foes and end the regular season against the Cincinnati Reds, a team they’ve destroyed so far. Those contests would be traditional 1-9 positions since the National League doesn’t use the designated hitter, as you all know.
Bryant is the starting third baseman, the backup first baseman to Anthony Rizzo at times, and has been deployed across the outfield throughout his young career, including a few games in center field where he’s looked competent. He even played shortstop in a pinch earlier this week. He’s supposed to have a pretty good arm and is a well-conditioned athlete, so I’m guessing he could pitch if needed (though those tailing throws to first might give some pause as to his command), and he should be able to squat behind the plate for at least part of an inning to complete the deal.
Zobrist, of course, is the original super-utility player. He has played every position on the diamond (outside the battery) passably under Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay, although he has aged and is actually a below-average regular second baseman now. Occasionally he has spelled the outfielders, but it’s safe to say his best defensive days are behind him. We don’t care because the bat is pretty darned good, but I’ll wager that he can still make some good plays all over. And Zobrist seems like the type of guy who will pitch or throw on the catcher’s equipment if you ask him nicely.
Javy is the new Ben Zobrist, having played all the infield positions, including as Rizzo’s primary first base backup. He also has been tried out in center field during winter ball and spring training, and seemed pretty competent out there. Javy has a cannon of an arm, and has also played catcher in high school. Also:
Montero, no-go with stiff back. Could play if he had to. Joe Maddon suggested that Javier Baez could be the emergency catcher. @Cubs
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) April 26, 2016
It seems to me that Javy would be the best candidate, but what do you think? Vote and comment!