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Does Matt Duffy Have a Future with the Cubs?

Matt Duffy has been hot of late for the Cubs down the stretch. However, does he have a future in Chicago in 2022? There are a lot of factors, but its possible.
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Chicago Cubs

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The question seems to be an easy yes or no. However, there is more that goes into answering this question than just one word. There is a lot of analysis regarding roster structure, upcoming prospects, dollars desired, and more that factor in to the decision. However, to set up said analysis, we'll answer in a simple manner to start. Yes, Matt Duffy does have a future with the Chicago Cubs.

Matt Duffy has been an interesting player for the Cubs in 2021. Early on, he found his stride as a high-contact bat in the lineup who was also versatile enough to move around the infield. In May, the Cubs were hot and Duffy's presence in the lineup was helping the Cubs win games. Then, Duffy hit the 10-day IL at the end of May. He was later moved to the 60-day IL and was not activated until July 23. By that point, the Cubs were sellers and the magic that Duffy helped engineer in May was completely gone.

Matt Duffy has been a pleasant surprise in Chicago this season. Does the infielder have a future with the team in 2022? Depending on how this winter goes, he very well might.Photo: The Athletic

Matt Duffy has been a pleasant surprise in Chicago this season. Does the infielder have a future with the team in 2022? Depending on how this winter goes, he very well might.Photo: The Athletic

Now, the team is cruising into their final 12 games of the season and Matt Duffy has something to prove. He is playing incredibly well of late. In Duffy's last seven games entering the Cubs' series with the Minnesota Twins, the 30-year-old infielder is slashing .308/.308./.692. In addition, he's hammered three of his four home runs, driven in six runs, scored four runs, and added eight hits. The former 2015 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up is making noise down the final stretch of the season.

Now, this isn't the first time Matt Duffy's future with the Cubs has been addressed. Fellow On Tap Sports Net contributor Cody Delmendo discussed Duffy's presence with the Cubs back in May. At that time, Duffy was helping the Cubs maintain their position in first place in the NL Central. Now, he's fighting for his own future, whether that's in Chicago or elsewhere.

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Making the Case

Duffy's future with the Cubs is very dependent on this offseason. Depending on what the Cubs do going forward for 2022, Duffy may very well have a place on this team. He plays third base, shortstop, and second base. In addition, he has a high-contact bat that the Cubs have desperately lacked while striking out at a very respectable clip. In 81 games this season, he has only struck out 52 times.

If the Cubs decide to take the one- and two-year contract approach this winter, then Duffy absolutely has a chance to stick around. He's a perfect candidate to fill a hole in the short-term and possibly be flipped if the team isn't competitive at the next deadline. If Duffy was healthy in 2021, there is a good chance he would have been traded in the historic June 30 sell-off.

Duffy's versatility, as well as his bat, make him an intriguing member of the Cubs' 2022 roster. He very well may stick around knowing he can play nearly everyday and potentially be traded to a contender half way through the season. However, as fellow Cubs On Tap panelist Joe Marras indicated on Monday's show, Duffy's future is likely elsewhere where he can be a depth piece.

I stand firm with my belief that Duffy has a future in Chicago. However, as mentioned, a lot of that will be determined in free agency. The Cubs have two options at hand. One is to buy some big names on multi-year deals and compete in both the near- and long-term. The other option is to buy low on some short-term players and try to compete in 2022 with their real intentions of competing aimed at 2023.

That said, slashing .266/.337/.345 with four home runs and 21 RBIs isn't flashy. But, Duffy's hot streak of late, especially in the lead-off spot, is an appealing option for the Cubs in 2022.

We'll learn Matt Duffy's future come the start of the 2022 season. However, based on what he's done lately, he has a future with the Cubs in 2022.