The Cubs have made their offseason intentions clear: Sign a left-handed hitter or two, find some speed and, if possible, trade for Jake Peavy. That last one probably won't happen. Correction: It definitely won't. But that doesn't mean the Cubs have given up on their other desires, namely, left-handed hitting and an outfielder and speed.
Today, they signed all three, sort of: The Cubs picked up former Royal and Ray Joey Gathright for one year and $800,000.
Who is Joey Gathright? This is Joey Gathright:
Yes, that's Gathright, flashing the insane athleticism that made him nominally attractive to the Cubs. Jumping cars isn't exactly a skill in demand in baseball, but speed is, and Gathright has plenty of that. Hendry is calling him “... arguably one of the fastest guys in the game, if not the fastest."
That speed and defense is essentially the core of Gathright's value, because he doesn't hit. At all. In five seasons, Gathright's career splits are .263/.328/.304; he hits for no power and minimal average, and he doesn't get on base nearly often enough to showcase that speed. But he is what he is: a cheap, one-year option, a left-handed bat the Cubs can platoon and use as a reserve and and pitch-run when the time is right. Gathright instantly makes the Cubs faster; unfortunately, he doesn't make them any better.