Are you even bothering to actually look at the rest of his statistics beyond his batting average? Hitting .299 every year is empty
when the peripherals are so bad. As I said, a bad BABIP year is going to make him fundamentally useless at the plate, given his allergy to walks -- he basically has to hit .325 every year to just be league-average
at getting on base. His OPS+ this year is 98 -- he isn't even performing at
league average this season.
You're trying to justify a seven-year extension for a singles hitter who plays terrible defense and gets on base nearly as often as Alfonso Soriano, and could wind up leading the league in outs made, times caught stealing and
errors all in one season, and your justification is "he hits for average." Batting average doesn't mean shit. That's the kind of old-school thinking that led to that hilariously awful Jayson Werth contract. I'm not saying he needs to hit like a moon monster to be worth keeping around, but good God almighty, it doesn't make the slightest lick of sense for the Cubs to make this deal, considering his ceiling gets lower every day.
Edit for some levity: It appears that Barry Zito has lost some velocity.