Another day of the Winter Meetings, another profile. This time we turn our attention to Will Venable who was a potential trade target last season and could make sense as a possibility for center field. Let’s take a look at the veteran bat and what it may take to get him signed.
First of all, at 33 he is four years older than Parra. The left-handed, eight-year veteran also has weaker career numbers batting .251/.317/.406 with 117 doubles, 39 triples, 81 home runs, 307 RBI and 135 stolen bases. It’s worth noting though that because Venable has played the majority of his career for the San Diego Padres, he’s been a much better hitter away from pitcher friendly Petco Park. On the road, he’s a .267 hitter but at home he’s batted just .233. At Wrigley, he’s batted .259 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and eight RBI.
Will Venable is a .256/.324/.422 batter against right handers, but a little better than Parra against lefties with a career .222/.280/.329 line. Venable has also shown a little more power in his career than Parra blasting 22 home runs in one season back in 2013 and has topped double digit home runs two other times.
Venable is also a more versatile defender and is ranked as above average at all three outfield positions. His defense in center can be hit and miss with ratings well below average and above average from year to year.
Because of Venable’s age, he’s not going to command a huge deal to sign, but likely will get a fair amount of interest towards the end of the off-season because of his versatility and talents.
In 2013, Nate McLouth signed a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals for $10 million to be a fourth outfielder and bench player for a contending team. Venable could probably earn close to that amount and be a nice bargain for the Cubs who could use him as a bridge player until Albert Almora Jr.’s bat catches up to his defense.
Adding Venable would certainly strengthen the outfield defense and add another decent veteran lefty bat to the team’s bench. However, as a potential starting centerfielder, the career .260/.317/.418 hitter in the leadoff spot would be a step down from Dexter Fowler.
With a young team looking to retool and improve over tough divisional opponent the Cubs could do better.
Free Agent Profiles
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