The Cubs have crossed multiple items off their winter checklist.
After The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported the deal Tuesday morning, the club confirmed the two-year, $5 million pact with veteran Daniel Descalso, including an option for a third year. He will make $1.5 million in 2019, $2.5 million in 2020 and there is a $3.5 million option in 2021 or the Cubs are on the hook for a $1 million buyout.
Descalso fills a lot of needs for the Cubs this offseason as a veteran known as a quality leader in the clubhouse/dugout, middle infield depth and another left-handed bat.
The 32-year-old is coming off a career season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he set new highs in homers (13), RBI (57), walks (64), OPS (.789), OPS+ (106), on-base percentage (.353), slugging percentage (.436) and runs scored (54).
He also played all over the diamond, recording time at second base (52 games), third base (37 games), first base (11 games), DH (7 games) and left field (5 games). He even pitched in two games, so he could be an option for manager Joe Maddon if the Cubs need some position players for mop-up duty again in 2019. Descalso has played a lot of shortstop in his career, as well, but he's recorded just 2 innings at the position since the start of the 2017 season so it's more likely the Cubs are interested in him as primarily a second/third baseman with the ability to move around more in the Ben Zobrist utility role if the need arises.
Descalso began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, coming up through their system as a third-round draft pick in 2007 and spending 5 seasons with the Cubs' divisional rivals. He then moved on to the Colorado Rockies for 2015-16 before the two-year stint with the D-Backs.
With his journey around the NL, Descalso has made the postseason five different times, notching 48 games on baseball's biggest stage in October and posting a .226/.286/.387 slash line (.671 OPS) in those contests.
Descalso is an affordable option for the Cubs, who have said over and over again this winter they are operating on a tight budget. The multi-year commitment can help him grow and develop into a leadership role in the Cubs clubhouse with more security and stability than a one-year deal provides.
Descalso effectively takes Tommy La Stella's place on the Cubs roster as a more versatile infield option and provides some more pop/leadership though with a lower batting average than La Stella.
The Cubs needed some infield depth heading into 2019, especially with Addison Russell out for at least the first month of the season on suspension and his status unknown beyond that point. Descalso can split time at second base with Zobrist, allowing the Cubs to follow the same rest forumla that helped the 2016 World Series MVP have a resurgent season last year (.305 AVG, .817 OPS).
The signing allows Maddon plenty of quality options on a given day, letting him choose a lineup from Descalso, Zobrist, Albert Almora Jr., Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and David Bote.
The Cubs have an interest in a more stable lineup/playing time equation in 2019, but it's never a bad thing to have more versatiity and depth on the roster.
Descalso may also be a fit for the Cubs at leadoff when he plays given he has posted a healthy walk rate the last three years includng a sparkling 15.1 percent in 2018. The veteran had success in that role last year (.357.412/.857 slash line) but in only 17 plate appearances and over his career, Descalso is hitting just .168 with a .266 OBP and .584 OPS in 24 starts in the leadoff spot.
The Cubs still figure to add another bullpen arm or two this winter and should add more shortstop depth behind Javy Baez.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.