As news started to break over the last 24 hours or so, the Cubs look to finally be adding a Major League contract this offseason. After numerous under-the-radar type moves, the Cubs have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
Souza's best years were arguably in Tampa Bay with the low-budget Rays. Souza was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the third round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. He made his debut with the Nationals in 2014, playing 21 games with the parent club. That same offseason, he was a part of the three-team trade that ultimately sent major pieces Trea Turner from San Diego to Washington, Wil Myers from Tampa Bay to San Diego, and sent a group of players, including Souza, back to the Rays.
In 2015, Souza played 110 games with the Rays and would do so for the following two seasons in Tampa Bay. Just before Souza was due a raise, he was once again a part of a three-team trade that sent him to Arizona.
Souza's best career season was 2017 with the Rays. The outfielder played 148 games, batted .239, hit 30 home runs, and drove in 78 runs.
Now, are the Cubs getting that same type of player? Who knows. Souza last played in 2018 after sustaining a season-ending injury in an exhibition game at the start of 2019. He may only be a shell of himself, but if he adds organizational depth in the outfield, plays solid defense (of which he has shown flashes throughout his career), and can maybe hit 15 home runs and drive in 45 runs, that would be a major win for the Cubs. Assuming he's healthy, he also allows the Cubs to deal from the outfield if they so desire.
We'll continue to update you as the terms are disclosed. However, the Cubs have finally made a move that will, for sure, impact the big league roster.
Update: The terms of the Souza deal include a $1 million base salary, and another $2 million in non-IL and performance bonuses, as outlined below by Jordan Bastian.