When we heard Jed Hoyer saying the Cubs had “multiple options” to upgrade/add to the outfield, I’m not sure many of us had Shane Peterson’s name on the tips of our tongues. The prospect of adding Jonny Gomes isn’t very sexy, but this move makes him look like Kate Upton by comparison.
Then again, a ballclub isn’t built on a collection of high salaries and supermodels. And maybe the Cubs believe there’s some real potential there in a guy who’s played only 2 MLB games with the Oakland A’s after being selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 59th overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Maybe the Cubs were just good-naturedly trolling both their nemesis and their erstwhile trade partner. Whatever the reason, they’ve got a new 1B/OF in the organization. But can he play?
A bit of a fire hydrant at 6-0/210, Peterson seems a bit undersized for first, though that’s not a spot he’d occupy very often if he does see time with the Cubs. He might make a lot of sense as a 4th/5th OF type, given his lefty bat and decent OBP skills.
In various stops throughout his 7 seasons in the minors, Peterson never posted an OBP lower than .333 and was often well over .350. In fact, he had a .389/.484/.618 slash in 39 AAA Sacramento in 2012 and put up a .308/.381/.460 over 137 games there this year.
While not a masher by any means (only 57 MiLB HRs), he did post double-figure totals in 2013 (12) and 2014 (11). And what’s more, he’s got a little more speed than his frame might indicate, swiping 17 and 11 bases in the last two seasons, respectively.
It’s unlikely that Peterson will make much of an impact at the MLB level, though the Cubs may feel he’s a better option than Ryan Sweeney at one-third the cost. While this is probably not the kind of move that is going to put the Cubs over the top, this front office doesn’t do things by mistake.