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The Cubs should sign Yasiel Puig to be their designated hitter

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Wait, hear me out.

Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

In recent years, when the topic of having the designated hitter in the National League came up, the typical response (from those in favor, anyway) was, “Just put Kyle Schwarber in that spot and it’ll be great!”

Well, now we have the DH in the NL — maybe for good — and it hasn’t worked out that way, neither with Schwarber in the spot and ... it has been far from great.

The most frequently used DH in the Cubs in the 24 games so far is Victor Caratini, who’s started at DH in nine games. Willson Contreras has been the DH seven times, Schwarber’s done it three times, Jason Kipnis and Josh Phegley twice and Kris Bryant once.

And Cubs DH’s have been ... pretty awful. They’re hitting .179/.289/.282 (14-for-78) with one home run and 34 strikeouts. I mean... Cubs pitchers didn’t hit that much worse last year (.125/.166/.155 with a homer). And Caratini, the most frequently used DH, has just been terrible in the role:

Caratini as catcher: .320/.433/.360 (8-for-25, five walks)
Caratini as DH: .167/.200/.200 (4-for-24)
Caratini, other (1B/PH): 2-for-2

It’s just not working for Victor, and it’s not working for Schwarber, either:

Schwarber as LF: .262/.400/.508 (16-for-61, four home runs)
Schwarber as DH: 1-for-12, seven strikeouts

Many teams now are splitting up their DH duties this way, among several position players, and David Ross seems to like putting his catchers in the spot. Sixteen of the 24 games have seen either Caratini or Contreras at DH, and with the luxury of a third catcher this year, Phegley’s taken two of the other slots.

But why not try something different? This isn’t my idea, it’s something I spotted on Twitter during Wednesday’s first game, and I found myself thinking, “Hey, this just might work!”:

Seriously, guys, this is not a bad idea. In fact, it might be a really good idea. With just about five weeks left in the season, it wouldn’t cost much money and as Matt Clapp points out, no cost of prospects in trade.

Yasiel Puig was about to sign with the Atlanta Braves July 17 when he tested positive for COVID-19. Of course, any team that wanted to sign him would have to make sure he’s clear of the coronavirus, and then get him up to game speed, but despite all his wacky behavior over the years, the man can hit. I would have full confidence in David Ross and the Cubs clubhouse culture to keep him in line. He was a 2.2 bWAR player in 2018, though he didn’t have nearly as good a year in 2019. He could even play right field from time to time to give Jason Heyward a break, and that’s something the Cubs could use now with Steven Souza Jr. out.

Here’s the statement Puig issued on Twitter when he tested positive for COVID-19:

Signing Puig to be Cubs DH for the rest of this bizarre season just might provide some of the offense they’ve been missing. Yes, I know he licks his bat. Yes, I know he’s been involved in brawls and other trouble. But I’m not talking about a long-term relationship here — just five weeks. As I said above: the man can hit. Go for it, Theo & Co. He just might be the hitter the Cubs have been looking for.

Poll

Yasiel Puig as Cubs designated hitter...

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Awesome outside-the-box idea! Do it!
    (793 votes)
  • 23%
    Are you crazy? Puig is! Steer clear
    (317 votes)
  • 16%
    Meh, don’t care either way
    (217 votes)
1327 votes total Vote Now