Nate Schierholtz gives Cubs outfield flexibility, ability to hit right-handed pitching

Ezra Shaw

Former Giant could join right field platoon in Chicago.

The Chicago Cubs signed outfielder Nate Schierholtz to a one-year contract Wednesday. The 29 year-old Schierholtz came up with the San Francisco Giants organization, spending parts of six seasons with the big league club. He was traded to Philadelphia on trade deadline day as part of the Hunter Pence deal. He hits left handed, and excelled against righties in 2012, hitting .287/.360/.466. Over his six major league seasons, Schierholtz has hit .270/.319/.409, but has a .276/.320/.424 line away from his pitcher-friendly home parks.

While Schierholtz has played the vast majority of his games in right field, he has the defensive ability to play all three outfield positions. With Alfonso Soriano locked into the left field position and David DeJesus in right or center, Schierholtz could join Dave Sappelt in a right field platoon, with DeJesus or much-hyped prospect Brett Jackson in center. Schierholtz will likely be in competition with fellow left-handed outfielders Tony Campana and Brian Bogusevic for a spot on the Cubs' active roster.

As a low-risk, low-cost acquisition, Schierholtz makes sense for the Cubs. If Schierholtz is left on the outside looking in, his low cost and list of potential suitors this winter guarantees he can be moved, either through trade or on the waiver wire. If he has a good season, Schierholtz still has less than five years of MLB service time and, therefore, is arbitration eligible in 2013.

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