Chicago Cubs: Team ends failed Carlos Gonzalez experiment

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs hoped signing Carlos Gonzalez to a minor league deal would pay dividends but they are left searching for answers.

When the Chicago Cubs signed Carlos Gonzalez to a minor league deal, they hoped he would be a low-risk, high-reward guy. Instead, he remained with the big-league club for just a month before being designated for assignment on Saturday.

Gonzalez was one of the best outfielders in his days with the Colorado Rockies, winning the battle title in 2010. However, he slashed just 0.175/0.306/0.300 in 15 games with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s for the Cubs. He figures to clear waivers and could remain in the Cubs minor league system with the hope of another chance later in the season.

However, the team is left searching for answers to find their preferred fourth outfielder. The starting three have not been the best either. Jason Heyward has been better lately, batting 0.326 in the month of June, but that came on the heels of a 0.186 average in May.

Albert Almora has left a lot to be desired in 2019, slashing just 0.250/0.290/0.393 to go along with a wRC+ of 75 after Saturday’s game against the Reds. Kyle Schwarber has been up and down this year, primarily batting leadoff for the Cubs. He’s slashing 0.227/0.314/0.462 with a wRC+ of 97 through Saturday as well.

Similar to Heyward, Schwarber was terrible in the month of May, batting just 0.196. He’s rebounded somewhat in June with a 0.245 but is striking out close to 28 percent of his at-bats. Many thought the Cubs would have Ian Happ and Albert Almora platoon centerfield, but Happ has been down in Triple-A all season to work on minimizing his strikeouts.

The Cubs are also hurting from Ben Zobrist‘s absence who left the team in the beginning of May to deal with a personal matter. Zobrist is in the final year his deal with the team and has slashed 0.269/0.362/0.412 in a little over three seasons. They hope he can return at some point this season, but it is unclear how he will perform if he comes back.

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As the trade deadline approaches, the Cubs should be on the lookout for a potential solution. The lack of production from their outfield has been a big reason why the Cubs have struggled to consistently score runs this year and they will need to address it if they want to make a second half push.