The Cubs have interest in D-backs outfielder Jarrod Dyson and have been “gathering information” on Blue Jays infielder Eric Sogard, according to Patrick Mooney, Sahadev Sharma and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Yesterday, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reported Chicago’s interest in outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, and today’s report from Mooney, Sharma and Rosenthal doubles down on that interest while also acknowledging that Castellanos’ remaining salary could make such a move difficult to piece together.
Chicago hopes to land a veteran hitter with quality contact skills, per The Athletic, and both Dyson and Sogard would fit that bill. Dyson is hitting .254/.335/.369 with six homers and 21 steals on the season. His strikeout rate is sitting at 19 percent, which is elevated quite a bit from the 13.3 percent clip he notched across the past three seasons but is still lower than the league average (22.2 percent among non-pitchers). Sogard, meanwhile, is batting .305/.369/.491 with 10 home runs, six steals and a 14.1 percent strikeout rate (career 13.3 percent).
Adding Dyson, 34, to the fray would give the Cubs an excellent defensive outfielder who can handle all three positions. His presence would surely push struggling Albert Almora Jr. out of the lineup against right-handed opponents. Dyson’s career platoon numbers are pronounced, and his left-handed bat makes him a natural pairing with Almora. The 25-year-old Almora has been uncharacteristically awful against lefties in 2019 but is still a career .286/.335/.420 hitter against them. Dyson owns a lifetime .257/.324/.360 line against right-handers.
Dyson is earning a reasonable $3.5MM in 2019 and is still owed about $1.32MM of that sum between now and season’s end. Contrast that with the $3.75MM remaining on Castellanos’ $9.95MM salary, and he’s not only the better defender of the two but the more affordable. Dyson can’t match Castellanos’ bat, though, and the Diamondbacks aren’t the slam-dunk sellers that the Tigers are known to be. It’s certainly possible that Arizona could deal Dyson and other short-term pieces, but at 50-50 through 100 games, the Snakes likely haven’t determined how they’ll proceed over the next nine days. As a pending free agent, Dyson could be moved even as the D-backs look to simultaneously add longer-term parts who can help in 2020 and beyond.
Sogard, 33, seems a near-lock to be traded so long as there’s sufficient interest. His power surge and general offensive production are largely out of the blue — Sogard was released by the Brewers in 2018 and signed a minor league deal in Toronto this winter — but his strong output has likely positioned as a piece the Jays can flip. As a versatile defender capable of handling second base, shortstop, third base and the outfield corners, Sogard could give the Cubs a sort of Ben Zobrist-lite skill set at a time when the organization still isn’t sure when (or if) Zobrist will return. Sogard’s numbers at second are down this season, but he has a long track record of plus defense there. And after inking a minor league pact in the offseason, he’s assuredly an affordable option for the Cubs or any other interested team.