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Garrett Cooper’s Potential Impact on the Cubs Roster

The Chicago Cubs are looking for an even deeper impact on the infield for the 2024 season, and they are hoping it comes in the form of veteran infielder Garrett Cooper, who they just added on a minor league deal. Cooper split time last season between the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins after previously playing for the Marlins for all of 2018 to 2022.

Cooper has spent time as a corner outfielder, third baseman, first baseman, and as a designated hitter in his career. However, he has just been at first or at the DH slot since the 2021 campaign. The right-handed bat is the third minor league deal the Cubs have signed within the last couple of weeks. The club has also added veterans David Peralta and Dom Smith to contribute to the overall organizational depth in camp. 

Garrett Cooper’s Potential Impact on the Cubs Roster

Where does Cooper Fit with the Club in 2024? 

The 33-year-old adds to the plethora of options the Cubs have at first base for the upcoming season. Cooper joins fellow right-handed bat Patrick Wisdom, along with Matt Mervis and  Michael Busch. Cody Bellinger’s presence back in the Cubs lineup could hinder some opportunities for all of their first-base options as well. 

With the Cubs having Wisdom for the past few seasons, why go out and add another right-handed bat in his position? Well, Cooper has much more success against left-handed pitching than Wisdom does. Despite Wisdom having many more homers in 100 fewer career games, Cooper has a much higher contact rate and overall impact against the southpaws. 

In 2023, Cooper played in 123 games compared to Wisdom’s 97. Wisdom clubbed 23 long balls to Cooper’s 16, but the former Padre had much more success across multiple categories. His batting average was 46 points higher (.251 to .205). He also had 15 more RBI than Wisdom (61 to 46). Lastly, Cooper got on base at a .304 clip compared to Wisdom’s .289 mark. 

When comparing the two right-handed bats who might accompany Busch and Bellinger as a part of a platoon in 2024, it’s all about what Craig Counsell and his staff prefer more. Are they looking for more pop? If so, Wisdom is your guy. Or is it the higher contact rate and higher on-base percentage? That would favor Cooper. There isn’t a realistic world where both guys make the Opening Day roster, but one would have to believe Counsell wants to keep them both in the organization, if possible.

Cooper’s Long-Term Outlook in Chicago 

With Cooper inking a minor league contract with the Cubs, he doesn’t have much of a leash here. He can be let go at any time and nobody gets hurt. However, he was an All-Star just a couple of seasons ago in 2022. Cooper didn’t just stumble upon hitting 17 homers in the show last year either. Many have said that they are stunned Cooper didn’t get a big-league deal, so this is a steal for Chicago. 

Even though Wisdom has been the main right-handed option at first base for the last couple of seasons for the Cubs, this deal has meaning behind it. An agreement like this in the later stages of the free agency cycle isn’t just made for a camp invite. Cooper has a solid resumé coming over to Chicago, and it should not be a surprise if he’s an impactful factor in 2024.


Photo Credit: © John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports


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