For all the praising the Chicago Cubs have received for the way that the front office has constructed the pitching staff, one could argue that the front office could be criticized for the way that they have constructed the starting outfielders. If the season were to start today, the starting outfield would consist of left fielder Alfonso Soriano; center fielder David DeJesus; and right fielder Nate Schierholtz. To the Cubs defense, both DeJesus and Soriano were starting outfielders for the team during the 2012 regular season and both were significant run producers for the Cubs. However, with Schierholtz, the Cubs appear to be taking a leap of faith in hoping that more playing time will signal increased production from the one-time top prospect of the San Francisco Giants.
The Cubs outfield depth has been compared to the team’s starting pitching depth during the 2012 season. The problem with that comparison is that the Cubs’ lacked any kind of starting pitching depth during the 2012 season. Beyond Soriano, DeJesus and Schierholtz, the Cubs are considerably thin in the outfield. The expectation is that Dave Sappelt and Tony Campana could serve as reserve outfielders. Though, neither Sappelt nor Campana would suffice as an everyday outfielder if there was an injury to Soriano or DeJesus, and/or Schierholtz falters.
One name that should not be forgotten is Brett Jackson. Jackson was promoted to the Major League level in August of the 2012 season, but the top prospect struggled mightily during his time with Cubs. Jackson’s struggles reached a point in where Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum indicated was “rock bottom”. Indications after the 2012 season were that Jackson would start the 2013 season with the Iowa Cubs. However, Jackson appears to be determined to be a part of the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. While Jackson certainly has the right attitude, don’t expect the Cubs stray away from the initial plan in having Jackson start the 2013 season with the Iowa Cubs.
Part of the reason why Jackson will likely start the 2013 season with the Iowa Cubs is because the Cubs could potentially make an addition to the outfield. No, that addition will not be Michael Bourn. Rather, that addition could be free agent outfielder Scott Hairston. Hairston is nearing a decision and the Cubs have reportedly expressed interest in the outfielder.In fact, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reports that there is mutual interest between Hairston and the Cubs.
Hairston hit 20 home runs for the New York Mets last season, and was a member of the San Diego Padres during Jed Hoyer’s first season as Padres’ general manager.