Cubs claim Ervin, add to outfield depth

December 22nd, 2020

CHICAGO -- The Cubs added to their outfield depth on Tuesday, claiming Phillip Ervin off waivers from the Mariners.

The addition of Ervin brings Chicago's 40-man roster to 37, though only three (Ian Happ, Jason Heyward and now Ervin) are true outfielders. The Cubs non-tendered both Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. earlier this month, creating a need to bring in help from the outside. Cameron Maybin and Billy Hamilton, who ended the 2020 season with the North Siders, are currently free agents.

Ervin is coming off a rough '20, going 11-for-74 in 37 games between stops with the Reds and Mariners after putting up some solid numbers, especially against lefty pitching, with Cincinnati in '19. During that season he hit .271 (.797 OPS) with seven homers, 11 doubles and seven triples in 94 games while posting a .349/.411/.628 line in 95 plate appearances against left-handers.

Over parts of four seasons in the big leagues, Ervin has hit .247 with a .728 OPS in 237 games while logging innings at all three outfield spots. He spent the bulk of his time in '20 in right field, where he had three Defensive Runs Saved. In 2019 he he logged three DRS each in left field and center field. That could make him a reserve option around the outfield for the Cubs, who will still be on the hunt for outfield help.

Happ earned the everyday job in center field last year but could easily move to left field if it made the most sense. Heyward is a fixture in right field, and manager David Ross recently told reporters that third baseman Kris Bryant has not been ruled out as an option for outfield action. Nico Hoerner, who was a '20 Gold Glove candidate at second base and serves as the main backup at short, is also a candidate for innings in center field, if needed.