The Cubs appear to be on the cusp of a major free agent move, and it will answer some questions about their outfield going into the 2020 season. On Friday afternoon the Cubs reports emerged thatformer Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was on the verge of a major league deal with the Cubs, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal.
Souza Jr., now 30, missed the entire 2019 season following an absolutely horrific spring training injury where he tore his ACL, LCL, PCL and had a posterolateral capsule in his left knee. Since the injury, he has said he is feeling 100% and ready to play again.
Prior to the injury he was a consistent hitter, with a career average of .233/.323/.417 and a 99 wRC+ (as high as 121 in his last season with the Rays.) He’s an average fielder with a 0 DRS in his last season with the Diamondbacks and a less inspiring -4.9 UZR.
What Souza Jr. has in spades that is sure to make him an instant hit with Cubs fans is charm. Known in Tampa Bay for his habit of hugging teammates after home runs or particularly good plays, Souza Jr. is the kind of delightful clubhouse presence that will make him a welcome addition for fans and teammates alike.
He’s also a workhorse and will spend more time on the field than in the dugout, provided his injury is in fact full healed. He is a right-fielder by trade but can patrol the whole outfield as needed.
The unfortunate aspect of this for those hoping for to see free agent Nicholas Castellanos back, is that Souza Jr. is likely to be in the mix for the Cubs outfield in 2020.
Steven Souza Jr.!
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