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Diamondbacks looking at Nate Schierholtz

If it's not Jeff Samardzija with the Cubs, could it be Nate Schierholtz instead? What? Another outfielder? But there might be more to the Diamondbacks interest than that.

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Something something outfield jam? Well, not all outfielders are alike. With Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock, the Diamondbacks have three who can credibly play center-field, but none of them fit the prototypical bill of the kind of  power-hitter who typically occupies the corner outfield. [Insert "we had one of those blah blah Upton blah" comments here] Even if healthy by Opening Day, Cody Ross didn't exactly hit for power last year - Martin Prado had a higher slugging percentage - and GM Kevin Towers has said that he does want to add more power to the line-up, in order to protect Paul Goldschmidt, the only D-back with more than 15 home-runs last year.

Schierholtz [dammit, do all the Cubs we're interested in, have difficult names to spell?] will turn 30 just before spring training starts next season, and played in a career-high 137 games for the Cubs last year, hitting 21 home-runs in 503 at-bats. His triple-slash line was .251/.301/.470 for a .770 OPS, and an OPS+ of .107. The southpaw was kept firmly away from left-handed pitching, seeing it only 66 times. That makes sense, since he only hit .170, and his career splits show almost all his power is against right-handed pitching. He has one HR in every 34.5 at-bats vs. RHP, compared to one ever 81 vs. LHP.

It makes me wonder if our interest in Schierholz is less as an outfielder, more as an alternative to and replacement for Eric Chavez: to give the team a left-handed PH and spot starter, with pop off the bench. While we do apparently have interest in bringing Chavez back, the word is out that we're not the only ones. The Yankees and Angels are reportedly also looking at Chavez. The former might makes particular sense: he played for the almost-as-evil empire-as-the-Dodgers in 2011, and their 3B situation is...fluid, shall we say, until someone figures out how long A-Rod will be suspended. Though we saw last year what happens when you play Chavez in the field every day.

Schierholtz would likely cost Arizona about the same amount, perhaps a little more than Chavez's $3 million. He'd be in his final year of arbitration, and having earned $2.25 million this season, would be in line for a bump up, to perhaps about $4 million. That said, however, it's not exactly the kind of player for whom I'd be looking to hand over one of our current outfielders: given he'd likely be a one-year rental, I'm more thinking along the lines of a low-level prospect. Is it possible any deal for the Cubs would be for both Schierholtz and Samardzija? Still not entirely sold on the latter as a significant upgrade on our young prospects.