Chicago Cubs: Offseason targets to watch in World Series

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs, Enrique Hernandez
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Cubs may not be in the World Series, but the team is certainly paying close attention to a few players who are and will soon be free agents.

The upcoming Chicago Cubs‘ offseason may be the team’s most crucial in years.

The Cubs mediocre late-season play and early playoff exit exposed many holes that need to be addressed this winter. That, combined with the core of the team quickly heading towards free agency leaves the front office with tough decisions to make.

Will the Cubs take one more shot at a World Series with its current core in 2021, or will the team start the retooling process, seeking trades for some of the players soon to be free agents?

Regardless of which way ownership and the front office steer the ship, there are a handful of players the Cubs could target this winter who will be playing in the Fall Classic. While you’re enjoying the stress-free, postseason baseball this week, keep your eye on these three players who could be donning Cubbie blue next year.

1. Enrique Hernandez

Even before his dramatic pinch-hit home run in Game 7 of the NLCS, Enrique Hernandez was a fan favorite in Los Angeles, and he’d likely become one rather quickly in Wrigleyville too.

While Hernandez wouldn’t likely serve as an everyday starter for the Cubs, he’s one of those role players who can make a huge impact off the bench.

Over the course of seven seasons at the big league level, Hernandez has put up a .240/.313/.425 slash line, good for a 99 wRC+ (which means he’s produced runs at a rate 1 percent below league-average).

While his bat isn’t fearsome, Hernandez’s skill at the plate fits exactly into what the Cubs are missing – a platoon piece who kills left-handed pitching.

Over the last two seasons, the Cubs have the fourth-worst team OPS versus left-handed pitchers. Hernandez has a career .820 OPS against lefties compared to just a .673 OPS versus righties, so he’d be a great compliment to the Cubs lineup.

Hernandez is the epitome of the saying – jack of all trades, master of none. He’s not a defensive wizard anywhere on the diamond, but he can play every position except catcher serviceably.

If the Cubs don’t bring back Jason Kipnis and aren’t convinced that Nico Hoerner can handle the second base job by himself, Hernandez would be a great addition who could bounce around the diamond filling lineup gaps a few times each week. Plus, he’d be a great late-game pinch hitter option when there’s a lefty on the mound.