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The Cubs And Denard Span, Free Agent

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The Cubs need a center fielder. Is Denard Span the right guy?

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cubs and Dexter Fowler can't come to an agreement on a new contract -- and right now that doesn't seem likely -- they will need to replace his production at the top of the lineup and his defense in center field (the latter, a bit easier, as Fowler was only average in the field).

Truth be told, a couple of years ago I'd have been all over the Cubs acquiring Denard Span to play center field. Now? Well... there are a couple of caveats.

First, Span missed 100 games' worth of 2015 with injuries -- multiple injuries to different body parts. Last offseason he had what was described as "core muscle surgery," then missed more time with back spasms, and eventually had season-ending hip surgery. It's all detailed here.

He did hit well when he played -- .301/.365/.431 in 275 plate appearances, and his .352 career on-base percentage is decent, though a bit lower than Fowler's .363. Most of Span's OBP is contained in his career BA, .287. He used to walk a lot more earlier in his career than he does now -- 70 times in 2009 and 60 in 2010 for the Twins.

Span turns 32 before Opening Day, but that's not my main worry about him. Here's my main worry:

2015 vs. RHP: .335/.393/.486, 206 PA
2015 vs. LHP: .197/.279/.262, 69 PA

That's... not good. It makes him seem like the LH-hitting half of a center-field platoon, and it might cost more than $10 million to sign him (he made $9 million in 2015). His career platoon splits are better:

Career vs. RHP: .293/.353/.407, 2993 PA
Career vs. LHP: .274/.351/.365, 1283 PA

So maybe 2015 was an aberration. Or maybe he's just not good against lefties anymore. I'm going to say "pass" on Span. What say you?