No lie. Nate Schierholtz was one of the key bench guys for the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants. He has a World Series ring. He probably got to touch the trophy at some point. So technically what I told you is true. He will bring a World Series (ring) to the Cubs as the newest signee by Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. Someday, Nate Schierholtz will bring a World Series to the Chicago Cubs. How will he do it, you might ask? Well, read on, intrepid follower, and find out.
As the reports say, Nate signed a one year deal worth $2.25MM with about $500K in incentives. For comparison that’s about a sixth of a year of B.J. Upton or Shane Victorino, so you’re not going to expect much. He can hit rather averagely to the tune of a career OPS+ of 97. He has a reputation for being a solid defender. He is actually left-handed, much to the merriment of the Dread Pirate Roberts. And he brings championship experience (limited as it may be) to the North Side even if it doesn’t also come with awesome leadership skillz. At that price he’ll probably play most of the time, and platoon with a righty bat like perhaps Dave Sappelt against tough lefties. But that’s the nature of this type of deal; buy low-ish, see how much value the player can accumulate, then flip him for prospects at the deadline. If Reed Johnson can help the Cubs snag Arodys Vizcaino, a healthy and productive Nate Schierholtz should be able to get something from someone. Assuming, of course, that the Cubs’ 25 man roster doesn’t play out of their minds and find themselves in contention.
Unfortunately the most likely way that Nate Schierholtz will bring the Cubs a World Series (one that isn’t attached to a ring on his finger) is if he’s no longer a Cub. This is Nate’s second year of arbitration, though technically a free agent contract after a non-tender. He will have one final year of arbitration left to cover 2014 prior to full free agency. This leads to a couple of scenarios. One, the Cubs can elect to trade him at the 2013 trade deadline with the stipulation that the new team will now have that extra year of control, which should net a better prospect. Being normally a role player, Nate won’t get a lot back, but that extra year of control does mean something to GMs. Secondly, the Cubs can elect to keep him around and offer him arbitration and still have a chance to trade him the following season, though obviously with a smaller return.
All-told, a relatively inexpensive contract for a useful role player who gets an opportunity to play every day to boost his value and future earnings. He will also have the opportunity to be traded to a contender mid-season (unless the Cubs are one of those contenders) and perhaps win another ring. But the path to the World Series will not go directly through Nate Schierholtz, but rather through the as-yet-unknown assets that he may help the Cubs acquire. And that’s what we as Cubs fans will have to expect until the time is right…whenever that is.
As an aside, I just found out that Nate Schierholtz went to my high school when my younger brother was also there, so I’m going to see if he can hook me up with some free stuff.