After a shocking first-round exit for the Chicago Cubs, they will look to improve as a unit for the 2021 season. The Cubs as a team hit a whopping .220 on the season which was 13th worst in the NL.
After only two Cubs hitters, Jason Heyward (.265) and Ian Happ (.258), hit above .250 for the season, the Cubs will look to intensify their batters in the lineup. Here are three hitters that the Cubs should target in free agency.
DJ LeMahieu (2B)
The Cubs should do all they can to acquire second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
LeMahieu actually started his career with Chicago after they drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft. However, his time with the Cubs would be cut short as they traded him to the Rockies after just one season.
Following his first season with the Rockies, LeMahieu has been one of the most dominant bats in any given lineup.
In nine seasons with the Rockies and Yankees, LeMahieu has hit over .275 in eight of nine seasons. He also has hit over .300 in five of the last six seasons.
The Cubs have been looking for a guy like LeMahieu, someone who can get on base time after time.
In the 2020 season, LeMaheiu led all of the majors with his .364 batting average, which would result in his second career batting title. He also led the AL in OBP (.421) and OPS (1.011).
Lemahieu became the first player in major league history to win the batting title in both the AL and NL. He also won the batting title with the Rockies in 2016 when he batted .348.
During his 10-year career, LeMahieu has been a three-time All-Star, won three gold glove awards, one silver slugger award and finished fourth in AL MVP voting in 2019.
Not only can LeMahieu get on base, but he also has plenty of pop in his bat. In the 2019 season, LeMaheiu finished the season with 26 home runs and 102 RBIs.
Chicago needs to target LeMahieu in free agency as his .305 career batting average could help the Cubs get some consistency in their lineup.
Marcell Ozuna (OF)
After only signing a one-year, $18 million contract with the Braves, Marcell Ozuna becomes a free agent after the 2020 season.
This is great news for the Cubs as he should be at the top of their free-agent list.
With the future of Kyle Schwarber in question, Ozuna could fill that void if the Cubs decide to let him go.
Ozuna had arguably the best season of his career. In just 60 games, he had 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. He was on pace for 50 home runs and 145 RBIs if the season was a full 162 games.
Ozuna finished the regular season first in the NL in home runs and RBIs. He also finished third in the NL in batting average, OBP, OPS and SLG.
In a contract year, Ozuna proved why he should get paid.
Even though he played exceptional in the regular season, he has played even better for the Braves in the postseason.
With the Cubs’ struggles on offense in the postseason continuing, Ozuna could be a difference in the lineup for the Cubs come playoff time.
Although Ozuna struggled in the first round against Cincinnati, going 1/9, he bounced back nicely. In the next two series against the Marlins and Dodgers, Ozuna batted .321 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
Ozuna has shown his playoff success as of late and is someone the Cubs should target in free agency.
George Springer (OF)
It would be weird seeing anything other than an Astros’ jersey on Springer, but it might happen in the 2021 season.
Springer’s one year, $21 million contract is up and he might look to test the waters in free agency.
Although Happ was successful in the lead-off spot, Springer would a solid addition to the team.
Not only has Springer been successful with getting on base in the leadoff spot, but he also averages 35 home runs a season including a career-high 39 last season.
Springer is also familiar with the postseason atmosphere.
As mentioned earlier, the Cubs haven’t been able to get runs in the postseason. In their last 31 innings of postseason play, they have scored a whopping two runs.
Springer is someone who has never shied away from the big stage. He plays some of his best baseball in October and when his team’s back is up against the wall.
In 2017, Springer won World Series MVP after he showed the world what he is capable of. He batted .379 with five home runs and seven RBIs.
Springer is someone who can help the Cubs finally get over the playoff hump.
If the Cubs are looking to add efficient bats in their lineup, Springer should be at the top of their list.
Featured Image Courtesy of Pinstripe Alley