Thursday, February 11, 2021

Everything's Jake

For the past several weeks, there's been plenty of rumors connecting the Cubs and a free agent named Jake.  We all assumed the club was looking into a reunion with World Series hero, Jake Arrieta.  After all, the Cubbies have more question marks in their rotation than answers and Arrieta remains as one of the better options left in the free agent pitching market.  And, as it turns out, these rumors were correct - word dropped this morning that the team had agreed to terms with a Jake on a one-year, $1.5 million Major League contract.   However, while the team may very well yet bring their one-time ace back home, it appears as though those previous rumblings had their wires slightly crossed - they had the wrong Jake!  This one plays the outfield.

Jake Marisnick has spent most of his career chasing fly balls in Houston, though he originally came up with Miami in 2013 and was briefly a Met in 2020.  He's seen here on a 2014 Topps Archives single which I just purchased from my local card shop on my lunch break.  Into the Cubs All-Time Roster Collection it will slide.


He was a pseudo-starter for several seasons as an Astro, but has been transitioning to more of bench role over the past couple years.  With his ability to play all three outfield positions and the Cubs having promised Joc Pederson a fixed starting spot, this Jake will likely serve as the fourth outfielder.  Somewhat amusingly, this means that the Mets and the Cubs essentially got together and traded their "next man up" in the outfield, with Albert Almora having taken his talents to Queens earlier this winter.

Image courtesy of Con Los Bases Llenas.

Like Almora, Marisnick brings plus defense into the mix.  But, Jake offers more in terms of speed on the base paths and his bat profiles as about league average against lefties - that's more than we can say about the now-departed Albert, who's bat simply never developed at the Major League level.  Thus, while we were gossiping about the wrong Jake, this one still plugs a hole on the roster.  It's just a gap that we Cubs fans assumed that the suddenly "poor" Ricketts ownership didn't want to waste any money on fixing.

Most of the offseason, the Cubs had been walking a thin line - rostering exactly three outfielders while cutting Almora and Kyle Schwarber loose - and they seemed all too comfortable on that razor thin margin.  With this signing, the previous acquisition of Pederson, and waiver-claim of Phillip Ervin the Cubs outfield has been completely retooled and now actually contains some MLB-worthy depth.

Speaking of Ervin, here's the 2020 Topps Flagship single I finally picked up for his slot in the CATRC.  Like I said previously, Ervin was brought into the organization waiver claim and, therefore, I was not convinced that he would stick around long enough to see in-season game action.  Something, something, roster Jenga, something.  That being said, as the winter has progressed, it seems as though the front office is intent on keeping Phil around; so, I finally pulled the trigger on a pasteboard for the collection.  He seems like as good of an option as any for the fifth outfielder role.

At any rate, the Cubs got themselves a Jake that fills a need.  Will they acquire another one to fill yet another unchecked box on the shopping list?   Word is the Mr. Arrieta is currently asking a bit too much for the front office's tastes and, honestly, more than the market has dictated for a hurler with his recent injury history.  Who knows though?  Spring Training is less than two weeks away, so both uncommitted players and shop around teams are going to have to start making some compromises.

Welcome to the CATRC and to the Windy City, Jake Marisnick!


  1. I actually bought an auto of Jake Marisnick around this time last year at a show. Not any formal collection, but motivated because he was a new Met. Less significant since his Met career ended with 34 uneventful plate appearances, but, hey, he'll always be a former Met, I guess.

  2. Huh, I'm usually up on the Cubs transactions, but I somehow missed the Ervin and Marisnick moves. Thanks for filling me in!