David Bote is a polarizing figure among most Cubs fans.
No, let me amend that. David Bote is disliked by many Cubs fans because the team has him under long-term contract and he hasn’t produced in 2021.
Let’s look at the facts. I used the photo of Bote at the top of this post for a reason. It’s from May 29, the day he separated his shoulder on this play [VIDEO].
That looks painful, and it caused Bote to miss 48 games.
You’ll look at his numbers and say, “But Al, he wasn’t hitting when he got hurt!” Which, overall, is true: At the time of the injury Bote was hitting .201/.280/.340 with five home runs in 144 at-bats. But taking a bit of a deeper look, Bote was actually a hot hitter at the time of that injury. Over the 11 games just before that: .265/.359/.529 (9-for-34) with three home runs.
Bote came back July 25 and played fairly regularly for the next month and didn’t really hit well at all: .204/.255/.337 (20-for-98) with three home runs and 21 strikeouts.
Then, as the Cubs were preparing to play the White Sox on the South Side August 27, he suffered this bizarre injury during batting practice:
I mean... if you had set out to try to do that, you couldn’t.
Bote suffered an ankle sprain and missed 10 more games, and then hasn’t hit much since his return: .174/.304/.283 (8-for-46), no home runs, 15 strikeouts, although seven walks make his OBP not-awful.
Many want the Cubs to part company with Bote, but he is one of three Cubs (Kyle Hendricks and Jason Heyward the others) who are under multi-year contracts with the team. Bote is due $2.51 million in 2022, $4.01 million in 2023 and $5.01 million in 2024. The Cubs hold a team option for $7 million in 2025 ($1 million buyout) and another for $7.6 million in 2026 ($500,000 buyout.) So, essentially, this is a deal that will cost the Cubs at least $13.03 million over the next five years, averaging $2.606 million per year.
Honestly, that’s not a lot of money for a player like Bote. 2021 is going to be the worst year of his career, but he was a 2.2 bWAR player in the last full season, 2019, and through 2020 he hit .240/.338/.415 with 24 home runs in 612 MLB at-bats, about one full season’s worth of playing time.
Those numbers play on any MLB roster. Obviously he’s never going to be the best player on the team, but the Cubs could surely do worse for a player who’s likely going to wind up as a super-utility guy. Bote can play second base and third base, shortstop in an emergency, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to try him in left field to see if he could handle it.
I’m convinced that Bote’s bad year is largely due to two serious injuries that caused him to miss 58 games and that if he can get back to 100 percent healthy, he’ll be a useful player in 2022 and beyond at a fairly reasonable price.
What say you?
What should the Cubs do with David Bote this offseason?
This poll is closed
Nothing — he’ll be a useful multi-position player next year
Try to trade him even if the Cubs have to eat part of the contract
Release him and eat the entire contract
Something else (leave in comments)