Patrick Wisdom Should Not Be on Your Festivus Grievance List

Patrick Wisdom is the most polarizing Cub on the roster and he might even run second to Sammy Sosa when it comes to recent history. Alfonso Soriano probably rounds out the top three. While Wisdom can’t come close to those others statistically, fans’ opinions of him seem to be just as disparate even though next to none reside in the “he’s awesome” camp.

Most folks evaluate him as an okay player, especially considering his low salary, but his critics make him out to be the worst to have ever graced the Cubs’ roster. Hyperbole? Maybe a little, but you’d have thought the Cubs just signed Eric Hosmer all over again when it was announced that they’d agreed to a $2.725 million deal to avoid arbitration with their slugging utilityman.

When Driveline released a thirst trap video of Wisdom launching nukes in his underwear, I figured the comments would include a lot of digital drooling. Instead, it was mostly people getting their own panties in a bunch. It’s totally wild to me that fans of a team want to dog a guy for putting in work to make himself better.

What’s even wilder is that Wisdom has actually been pretty darn good, all things considered. Sure, his 36.9% strikeout rate is not very nice, he struggles against breaking balls, and his .214 batting average has old-schoolers freaking out left and right. But in his two-and-a-half seasons on the North Side (we’re not counting those two PAs in 2020), Wisdom’s 76 home runs are 13 more than the next-highest on the team (Ian Happ, 63) and his .260 ISO is 24 points higher than second place (Kris Bryant/Javier Báez, .236). Wisdom’s 4.1 fWAR ranks sixth and his 109 wRC+ is ninth in that same time.

We’re not talking about an elite-level player by any stretch, but Wisdom is a perfectly cromulent ballplayer who offers impact slugging at a relatively low cost. Consider that only 33 players in MLB have hit more homers over the last three seasons, and all of them have done so in significantly more plate appearances. It’s pretty funny that two of the players tied with Wisdom in that span are former Cubs who just about everyone lamented the losses of and would welcome back with open arms.

Since the start of the 2021 season, Nick Castellanos has put up 3.9 fWAR and Jorge Soler has managed just 2.0 fWAR while making at least 19 times more salary. Both of those WAR numbers are lower than 4.1, or at least that’s what I’m told. Castellanos doesn’t even get extra points for the open-jersey-no-shirt look since Wisdom rocks it as well. Sometimes it’s good to zoom out a bit to make sure we’re seeing the big picture.

Do we all want to see the Cubs making moves to upgrade the roster? Of course. But it’s also possible that Craig Counsell can find better ways to deploy Wisdom in order to maximize his value as a role player. When it comes to airing your grievances this Festivus, having a dude who can play multiple positions while hitting 25 tanks a year in a supplemental role shouldn’t be on the list.

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