Amid what has been a quiet offseason for the Chicago Cubs, an intriguing report surfaced on Sunday. According to Joe Doyle, RHP Michael Lorenzen is looking for a starting gig in 2022 with an interesting twist.
That's right. Lorenzen, a former Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher, is not only looking for a chance to start next season, but he also wants to play the outfield and take at-bats. Over the course of his career, the 29-year-old has put up respectable numbers at the plate. In fact, he owns a career .233/.282/.429 slash line with seven home runs and 24 RBIs. He only has 147 plate appearances, so over a normal 300-plus plate appearance season, Lorenzen might put up solid offensive numbers.
The intriguing piece of this report is the Shohei Ohtani reference. There is little guarantee that Lorenzen puts up the type of numbers the 2021 AL MVP did this past season. However, with solid numbers as a relief pitcher and hitter, Lorenzen has a chance to be a poor man's version of Ohtani in some form or fashion. Again, it's not guaranteed, but it is an interesting proposition.
The Fit in Chicago
Is there a fit in Chicago for Lorenzen? On the surface, yes. The Cubs have publicly addressed the desire to add quality and quantity at the starting pitching position in 2022. As of now, the only significant move the Cubs have made has been the acquisition of former Red Wade Miley off waivers. It comes as little surprise that the Cubs have checked in with another former Red in Lorenzen. They have seen plenty of him over the years, so Jed Hoyer and company have a good idea of what they would get if they pulled the trigger on a signing.
The real question is: do the Cubs have enough space in the outfield (in terms of roster construction) to field Lorenzen on a regular basis? Brennen Davis is projected to enter the MLB picture in 2022, Ian Happ is still with the team, and plenty of other pieces who may be important to the Cubs' future need an audition. In fact, it feels like a Lorenzen signing may crowd the outfield in a negative way entering 2022.
Nonetheless, the possibility of having a player who can pitch every fifth day and play the field the other days is exciting. Fans were in awe of Shohei Ohtani's unanimous AL MVP season, and the idea of more players with the same skill set is good for baseball. Again, Lorenzen likely isn't going to hit 40-plus home runs, but he will be a fun player to watch for fans wherever he ends up with this proposition.
He fits the type of move the Cubs have publicly mentioned making this offseason, but whether or not they pull the trigger (especially before December 1) remains to be seen.