The Chicago Cubs have signed former All Star and Chicago native Cliff Floyd. The Cubs announced the signing of Floyd to a one year deal on Wednesday January 24th. Floyd who played baseball at nearby Thornwood High School in South Holland, Illinois will more than likely share playing time in left field with highly thought of Matt Murton.
Floyd is guaranteed $3 million for one year with the Cubs though the contract is laden with incentives. If Floyd is able to meet these incentives the contract could jump to $17.5 million over two years. Since Floyd does have a history of injuries and did see his playing time in 2006 limited due to an Achilles problem, the Cubs are using the heavily incentive packed contract to protect their interests.
The 34 year old Floyd will be playing for his fifth team as he has had stints with the Montreal Expos, who are now the Washington Nationals, Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox, and the New York Mets. Over his 14 year career, Floyd is a .279 hitter and has clubbed 213 homeruns.
Cliff Floyd was a highly touted prospect and was even named the Minor League Player of the Year in 1993. His career has been hampered by injuries including 2006 with the Mets when he was limited to just 332 at bats hitting .244 with 11 homeruns. This was a far cry from his 2005 numbers when he hit .273 with 34 homers and driving in 98 runs.
Always known as a stand up guy and a good clubhouse presence, Floyd will be a welcome addition to the newly revamped Chicago Cubs team. Mike Bauman of Baseball Prospectives in his article Chicago’s Other Teams on the Move writes, “Floyd is well-known as one of baseball’s good guys, and the addition of one of those never hurts. He’ll add something good to the Wrigley Field mix. And he’s a Chicago-area native, so his joining the club has the nature of a homecoming.”
More than likely Floyd will at least start the season platooning in left field with second year starter Matt Murton who the Cubs have high hopes for. Floyd will also provide some much needed left handed power off the bench for new manager Lou Pinella which is something the Cubs have lacked in recent history. When asked about the platoon situation by Carrie Muskrat, beat writer for MLB.com, Floyd had this to say, “I think everybody likes to play. I think the main thing is doing what the team needs me to do. I mean that sincerely. If you want to win, you do what the team needs you to do to win. If you talk about platooning and all this stuff, I don’t think it becomes an issue. If I go out and play like I know I can play, you won’t hear that word [platoon] the rest of the season.”
Cliff Floyd will join Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, and Mark DeRosa as key free agents the Cubs have signed this off season. The Cubs are hoping Floyd can regain the form he showed in 2001 when he was an All Star with the Florida Marlins. If he can even come close to the .317 average with 31 homers and 103 runs driven in he showed that year then it will be a warm homecoming indeed, and probably a hero’s welcome at that.