Chicago Cubs: David Bote should not be sent down

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs will have an interesting decision to make on who gets sent down to Iowa when Addison Russell is called up.

The Chicago Cubs have been doing just fine without their troubled shortstop, Addison Russell in 2019. Javier Baez has locked down the position and the front office has stated that he is there to stay. So that means when Addison Russell gets called back up, he will have to play elsewhere.

Looking at the rest of the infield, the only opportunity for Russell to get playing time with the big league club is likely at second base, which he has started doing in Triple-A. However, Daniel Descalso has done a fine job of handling the second base job this season while slashing 0.268/0.358/0.380. Lately, David Bote has primarily been playing third base and Kris Bryant has been playing right field.

In defensive substitutions, Bote has remained on the field and played a little bit of second base as well. He has more than earned his playing time and that’s not speaking from a contractual obligation. Bote was signed to a five-year extension back worth $15 million back in early April. He has been extremely valuable since seeing the lineup everyday in June of last year.

His story to the major leagues is quite remarkable, and I would highly encourage you to read that as well. Anyways, his spot was solidified in the everyday lineup last season when he came up clutch and hit a walkoff grandslam against the Nationals on August 12th. Bote went through a bit of a regression in the second half of last year, batting just 0.218.

However, he has made the most of his time in the starting role slashing 0.279/0.371/0.525 on the young season and is striking out just 21.4 percent and taking walks at a 10.0 percent clip (via Fangraphs). Bote also has a really strong arm at third base. I would argue it is stronger than Bryant’s arm. Now while we saw a chopper this past weekend that bounced over his head that Bryant could have likely grabbed (because he’s four inches taller), those plays happen so few and far between.

Teammate Ben Zobrist has also noticed the poise Bote has been carrying this season, as he was supposed to play on Sunday, but went to manager Joe Maddon and told him to play Bote instead.

"“It’s a selfless kind of a move,” Maddon said. “That’s what we’re looking for. I like the fact they feel comfortable enough to come in here and discuss with me. It was pretty much what we wanted to happen to begin with, and it happened.” – via CubHQ"

Zobrist is in the last year of his contract with the Cubs, but you have to love when a veteran notices a younger guy playing well. As for the permanent infield situation, I tend to think the Cubs will keep playing Bote at third base and Bryant in the outfield as long as Bote is able to keep hitting like he has been.

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Regarding Addison Russell, yes he will likely be called up within the next week or two, but I am not sure who gets sent back down. The Cubs lack quality depth in their bullpen, but they really need all hands on deck there. Bote is here to stay, so the Cubs will have to make an interesting decision rather soon.