Arismendy Alcantara has been a spark plug for the Chicago Cubs since he was called up on July 9th and he has shown a little bit of everything out on the field. Entering Play today Alcantara is hitting .286 with four doubles, a triple, a home run and three stolen bases. He has also made starts at both second base and centerfield. Alcantara is an infielder by nature but given this week’s announcement that Javier Baez will be playing second base for the Iowa Cubs the rest of the way, it looks like Alcantara’s future lies in the outfield. The implications from Baez’s move to second base are that Starlin Castro and Kris Bryant will stay at shortstop and third base, but also that the outfield has become incredibly overcrowded. Given the news here is a projection of the Cubs’ future lineup:
1. Alcantara, LF
2. Castro, SS
3. Rizzo, 1B
4. Bryant, 3B
5. Baez, 2B
6. Schwarber, C
7. Soler, RF
8. Almora, CF
Assuming all goes according to plan, the Cubs’ look to have one heck of a lineup, however, there are still a few question marks that have yet to even be addressed. Will Kyle Schwarber remain behind the plate? When the Cubs’ selected Schwarber with the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft it was assumed that he would eventually move to the outfield but Schwarber has been great behind the dish in 12 games this season, throwing out 50% of would-be-base-stealers (9-18) and is starting to change some minds. Should the Cubs’ decide not to keep Schwarber behind the plate, the outfield picture changes dramatically. The Cubs also have to find a spot for SS Addison Russell, and at this point Theo Epstein may not even know how he fits into the lineup. In addition, OF Billy McKinney, 1B Dan Vogelbach and C/OF Mark Zagunis are without spots in the lineup.
The most logical solution to this logjam problem is to trade for a frontline starting pitcher. This week David Price’s name has been thrown around as a possible option, but where the Cubs are still a few years away from making a run at a title, acquiring Price now may not be their best option.
Depending on the development Schwarber and the Cubs’ young outfielders, there is a scenario in which the Cubs could trade Alcantara and Castro for an ace a few years down the road. That way Addison Russell can play shortstop and a natural outfielder can take Alcantara’s place in the lineup.
The bottom line is that it the Cubs’ infield of the future is starting to take shape and it looks like Arismendy Alcantara is not a part of it. It will be interesting to see how Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer piece together their future roster and how they go about acquiring the frontline starter that they so desperately need.
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Tags: Addison Russell, Arismendy Alcantara, Baseball, Billy McKinney, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Dan Vogelbach, Iowa Cubs, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Mark Zagunis, MLB, Starlin Castro