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Should Cubs Trade Bryan LaHair?

By bullpenbrian at 07.25.2012 2 comments.

The Baltimore Orioles have made preliminary trade calls on Bryan LaHair according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

The Cubs would seem inclined to trade LaHair given he’s looked the furthest thing from an All Star hitter since early June.

Although LaHair quickly squashed the notion he wouldn’t hit at the major league level the way he did in the Pacific Coast League, he’s just as quickly failed to prove he can produce consistently over the course of a marathon 162-game schedule.

Consider the following: since June 1 LaHair’s average has dipped 35-points, his OBP is down 44-points, and he hasn’t homered over his last 38 at-bats (July 4).

Furthermore, LaHair has but 10 RBI vs. 47 strikeouts during his last 40 games while continuing to struggle against LHP (.070)–3-for-33, 1 HR, 1 RBI & 26 Ks.

Matt Garza, for heaven’s sake, has two hits against southpaws for a .125 average, and Anthony Rizzo is 7-for-33 against lefties.

MAKING THE ADJUSTMENTS

It’s obvious opposing pitchers have made the necessary adjustments against LaHair since his blazing hot start to the season.

But it begs the question if LaHair is able to make his own adjustments to get back on track?

LaHair, as we know him, has been a late bloomer, which his tenuous minor league career suggest. So it’s not inconceivable to think he could bounce back and finish the year strong given the opportunity.

“Most scouts believe Bryan LaHair has legitimate late-blooming power like Nelson Cruz and Jose Bautista, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.”

This, however, poses two problems.

1.) His declining numbers with each passing month are discouraging:

  • April: .390/.471/.780 – 5 HR, 14 RBI
  • May: .253/.343/.488 – 5 HR, 8 RBI
  • June: .231/.286/.400 – 3 HR, 6 RBI
  • Post All Star: .214/.290/.214 – 0 HR, 1 RBI

2.) If the Cubs wait too long to find out if LaHair can salvage the season it could be too late to land any player of value in a return trade for an unproven soon-to-be 30-year-old.

IS LAHAIR A LEGITAMATE ALL STAR?

It wasn’t pure luck LaHair was voted an All Star by his peers. Timely hitting, in particular, was certainly a boost with 10 of his 14 HR either tying the game or giving the Cubs the lead. A flair for the dramatics, if you will.

He’s also hitting right-handed pitching well enough to sport a slash line of .319/.391/.556 with 13 bombs and 30 RBI, plenty good for All Star consideration or any number of playoff contenders looking for a lift offensively.

However, the unanswered questions of LaHair’s development and his ripe age are both working against him on a Cubs organization dead-set on stockpiling young, talented players for the future.

So if Team Theo finds a taker for the first time All Star, perhaps it’s best the Cubs let another team discover the truth about Bryan LaHair.

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2 Comments

  1. J-Huff says:

    I’d put him on the market and see what can be had. If you can sell high, I’d probably do it. They have some decent outfield prospects in their farm system.

    I doubt he’s ever hitting left-handed pitching. He never did in the minor leagues. So if they don’t want to use him as a platoon player then they might as well offer him up.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      I’m with you. Also, we know Thome isn’t a long term fit at DH for Baltimore. LaHair’s a pretty good stop gap at DH, and plays 1B & LF, too. Definitely worth a look. I wouldn’t rule Dodgers out on LaHair either. Anxious to see what happens :)

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