The Cubs signed first baseman/outfielder Jesus Guzman to a minor league deal, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter). Guzman spent 2015 with the Hiroshima Carp, hitting .230/.336/.420 over 116 plate appearances in NPB.
The 31-year-old owns an impressive .856 career OPS in the minors (3835 PA) and his first extended taste of Major League action saw him deliver an .847 OPS over 271 PA with the Padres in 2011. Guzman’s numbers tailed off after that initial season, however, and he managed only a .188/.272/.248 line in 184 PA with Houston in 2014 before electing free agency and signing with Hiroshima.
As you’d expect for a right-handed hitter, Guzman has performed much better against lefty pitching than righty pitching over his career, with a .746 OPS against southpaws against only a .670 OPS against righties. With a strong Spring Training, Guzman could find a place for himself on Chicago’s roster, backing up Anthony Rizzo at first or perhaps even finding a platoon spot in left field. Kyle Schwarber and Chris Coghlan (both left-handed hitters) and the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist are slated for left field, though the bulk of Zobrist’s playing time will be at second base.