Cubs

Anderson on Madrigal: Cubs ‘got their money’s worth’

Cubs
USA TODAY

They couldn’t have already forgotten about Nick Madrigal on the South Side, could they?

“Who’s that?” White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson deadpanned, then broke into a smile, when asked about the new Cubs infielder.

The fact is Anderson knows Madrigal as well as anybody. They were double play partners with the White Sox the past two seasons, before the Sox sent Madrigal and Codi Heuer to the Cubs at the trade deadline for Craig Kimbrel.

So, what exactly are the Cubs getting in their new 24-year-old second baseman, acquired for their former All-Star closer?

“A guy that’s going to hit. He’s going to hit,” Anderson said. “He’s going to find a way to get on base. That’s the goal — to get on base, be a hitter, and he does that. He’s a pretty good hitter and he works. 

“They got their money’s worth.”

The earliest the Cubs will see that return on investment is Opening Day 2022. Madrigal is out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair proximal tendon tears in his right hamstring — after missing a chunk of the 60-game 2020 season with a separated left shoulder.

But when Madrigal has been healthy, he's already shown he's everything Anderson projects.

Madrigal hit .340 with a .376 on-base percentage in 29 games last season. He was batting .305 with a .349 OBP in 54 games this season, before going down with that hamstring injury June 9.

 

He’s also specializes in something the Cubs have noticeably struggled with in recent years: making contact. Madrigal has a 91.8 career contact rate.

“That’s what you’re getting — contact,” Anderson said. “You’re not going to get a whole lot of power or anything, but you’re getting a batter that’s going to get on base for you.

“He’s going to be a sparkplug. I can see him fitting in that lineup. He really fits in anywhere in the lineup. He fit in our lineup, and he did great, hit .300.

"He’s a pretty good hitter, man. A young, mature hitter.”

RELATED: Hoerner: Madrigal ‘person you want’ as new Cubs set culture

A mature — and unique — hitter.

“This kid brings something to the table that we're missing in the game,” former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Move the guy over, hit behind the runners, doesn’t strike out much, a better hitter with two strikes.

“He does so many little things nobody thinks about. He’s got to stay healthy. He's had a couple big injuries. If you watch him once a week, you might go, ‘What?’

“But if you watch this kid every day, you will appreciate what he does for the team because he’s hard-nosed.”

Maybe that's why the Sox said it was so tough to trade him. The one thing they knew this season is they're trying to win the World Series. 

As much as Madrigal might've helped them in future, he wasn't going to help in their playoff push this fall.

"We know we have to watch Nick Madrigal for the next five-plus years in a Cub uniform, very likely making an impact and doing damage at the big-league level. That's not going to be easy," Sox GM Rick Hahn said after the trade. 

"When we sent [José] Quintana there, ... we knew we ran the risk of my kids having to sit through another parade come October. That doesn't sit too well.”

Madrigal is coming off a serious surgery. In all, he’s played half of a full 162-game season since making his big-league debut.

There have been questions about his defense and baserunning, two attributes he was lauded for while coming up through the Sox system.

“The door is wide open for him to have a great career and be in a great spot and be able to do great things,” Anderson said. “At the end of the day, he’s got to put the work in.”

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