The Cubs rumor blender got turned up to “liquefy” a couple weeks back with a report that the Padres had explored the possibility of trading for David Bote. The heroic utility man wasn’t the only name mentioned, but he mostly fits the profile San Diego is looking for in a player to take over the hot corner now that Wil Myers has been moved back to the outfield. Bote isn’t expensive in terms of either salary or acquisition cost and he’s controllable for six more years, through his his age-31 season.
The report of the Padres’ interest in Bote came from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who dropped another little nugget into his Wednesday morning mailbag column. As a warning to those reading on a computer that blocks social media, you may think someone at the U-T hosed up badly when formatting the piece. That’s because the questions are embedded tweets, one of which asked who would be starting at third base for the Padres this season.
“I wish I could tell you,” Acee answered. “They wish they could tell you. They expect a lot to fall in place after Manny Machado signs. Educated guess: David Bote.”
Now, we could just be looking at a matter of confirmation bias in which Acee is hearkening back to his previous report to double down. Except the “educated guess” thing feels like it’s got legs. I don’t don’t know Kevin Acee from Acie Earl, but I’m willing to bet he understands his craft well enough to know how deeper meaning can be ascribed to certain words.
Heck, I’ve never even seen the inside of a J-school and even I know how couched words can be unfolded. Like when I wrote back in late October that my “intuition” told me the Cubs weren’t going to spend big in free agency. That wasn’t just reading tea leaves, it was something I’d been told by a trusted source who preferred I present it a certain way. As we’ve seen since, that info proved to be frustratingly accurate.
Maybe Acee really knows something about what the Padres have in the works and he’s being a little coy with the way he phrases it. One can imagine the Cubs wanting to give Bote the opportunity to be celebrated at a Cubs Convention during which he comprised roughly 43 percent of the highlight reel. It’s maybe a bit strange to hold off on a relatively important trade just for that reason, but it’s far from inconceivable.
At the very least, this is the second time we’ve heard this connection and it’s worth monitoring as spring training report dates near and free agency is still crawling.