Cubs Sign Third Baseman Matt Duffy to Minors Deal
The Cubs have reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with third baseman Matt Duffy, who played for the Giants and Rays from 2014-19 but was unable to crack a big league roster this past season. Duffy’s career 101 wRC+ is buoyed by two above-average seasons, including a 4.4 fWAR sophomore campaign with San Francisco that saw him knock 12 of his 22 career homers.
The #Cubs sign infielder Matt Duffy to a minor-league deal that will pay him $1 million if he makes their big-league team with $500,000 in incentives. He was in the #Rangers and #Yankees organizations last season.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 21, 2020
Though Duffy lacks the power you typically look for in a corner man, he’s a solid defensive player who makes a lot of contact. His walk rate has also improved each season and reached a very respectable 11.2% in 2019, which is good because his glove didn’t grade out nearly as well. Bouncing back and combining the low swing-and-miss with solid defense and ability to play a little first and second base could make Duffy a nice option as a utilityman.
The biggest issue I can see, other than not playing last season, is that Duffy doesn’t hit lefties well. Even in that big 2015 campaign, the right-handed batter posted a mere 80 wRC+ against southpaws vs. a 124 against righties. Those respective numbers were 51 and 112 during the 2019 season, not the ideal complement for a team that just finished a historically bad performance against lefties.
Even if Duffy has worked some things out, this isn’t a move that seems likely to help the Cubs a great deal. But hey, at least it’s something.