Sometimes it’s hard to see your favorite players in a different uniform. Other times you’re kind of glad they are not on your team anymore whether it be for off-field reasons or on-field production. Here are three guys who used to play for the Chicago Cubs that are struggling to make things work on their squad.
Recent media coverage has made it pretty clear that Javier Baez is struggling mightily with the Detroit Tigers. Most notable was a series of base-running mistakes, including getting picked off second base because he thought there were two outs, that resulted in manager A.J. Hinch benching his starting shortstop. Usually an above-average base-runner, Baez’s struggles on the paths are new to a litany of peripheral problems that come with Baez’s game. For example, he is continuing his baffling plate discipline by swinging at an alarming amount of pitches outside of the zone.
Javier Baez is batting .080 with 0 HRs 1 RBI and 5Ks through 5 games.
He will earn $23 million this season pic.twitter.com/wKu4kCAAo7
— Pitcherclips (@pitcherclips) April 8, 2023
As for his season stats, Baez has 0 home runs, 5 RBIs, and a .184/.259/.504 slash line. Not great for the second-highest-paid player on the team making $22 million this year. Hopefully, the former All-Star shortstop can find shades of his former self, as he used to be a consistent 25-home run threat and he has a second place in MVP voting under his belt.
Jason Heyward was cut by the Cubs after last season despite the fact the Cubs still owed him $22 million for this season. His defensive prowess was just not enough to warrant keeping his inconsistent bat in the lineup and now that is looking like a smart move early in the season. Heyward was given a spot on the Los Angeles Dodgers, and although he has flashed some early power, his other offensive stats are pretty much as bad as they have been when he was with the Cubs.
Over 27 plate appearances, Heyward has just 4 hits with three of them being home runs. This is giving him a skewed slugging percentage of .565, but that doesn’t change the fact he owns a .174 batting average and is getting on base at a .259 clip. Heyward’s bat is keeping him in a defensive replacement role in LA which is exactly why the Cubs got rid of him with more than capable bats ready to contribute.
After reaching free agency, Willson Contreras took it upon himself to bad mouth the Cubs on multiple occasions and sign with the rival St. Louis Cardinals. While his offense isn’t exactly the worst, as he has collected 14 hits in 54 at-bats, he has yet to hit a home run in the young season. Perhaps more damning is Contreras’ impact on the Cardinals’ starting rotation.
Although Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery are pitching relatively well, former ace Miles Mikolas is struggling mightily with an 8.10 ERA. Steven Matz is also not doing well as he sports a 6.48 ERA in 3 starts. Apparently one of the main reasons the Cubs parted ways with their slugging catcher is because of his tendency to go rogue when calling ballgames which caused frustrations for the coaching staff. It seems like Contreras’ approach could be having an impact on the Cardinals’ slow start on the pitching side, which as a Cubs fan is wonderful to see.