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Bryan LaHair: All Star To Bench Warmer

By bullpenbrian at 10.10.2012 2 comments.

There were obviously a ton of disappointments this season. Bryan LaHair, unfortunately, may have been the biggest of them all.

If we didn’t have high hopes for LaHair when he broke spring camp as the starting first baseman, we certainly did after he hit .308/.396/.582, .979 OPS after the first two months of the season.

Despite his hot start, most fans, including myself, remained curious if LaHair could consistently hit for an entire season. Ultimately, he proved he could not.

Although LaHair earned a somewhat surprising selection to the Mid-Summer Classic, it quickly became a tale of two season afterwards.

LaHair hit–.286, 14 HR, 30 RBI before the All Star break…and .202, 2 HR, 10 RBI thereafter. He went from starter to role player…and eventually to bench warmer come August.

Whether or not the arrival of Anthony Rizzo negatively effected LaHair offensively, I don’t know. But I still suspect it did as LaHair’s transition from first base to right field coincided with his decline at the plate.

What’s certain is the league’s pitching adjusted quicker to LaHair than he could counter back. Additionally, his inability to hit left-handers (.063) and overall sharp decline offensively leaves LaHair hanging in the balance of the Cubs’ plans this offseason.

Can LaHair retool his plate approach again this winter? Is it worth keeping his left-handed swing as a pinch-hitting threat…or is it time to move on from LaHair?

If the Cubs can trade LaHair I suspect they will. Otherwise, due to the lack of overall talent on the roster, he may get one more shot next spring…with better results, I hope.

Honorable mention: Ian Stewart .201, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 55-games.

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2 Comments

  1. Merril Stouder says:

    I suspect there was a reason LaHair was was still a minor at his age. He could be a valuable piece from the left hand side but Of and 1b spots are often and easily filled.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Yep. I agree.

      Contending National League teams can always use a good, left-handed power bat off the bench as a pinch-hitter.

      But for a team on the rebuild, like the Cubs, there’s prolly more value in filling a roster spot with guys who need playing time and an evaluation period at the major league level.

      I have to believe there’s another team willing to take a shot at LaHair…and if the Cubs can get something decent in return, why not deal him?

      It’s too bad things didn’t work out for LaHair they way we had hoped…I like the guy, think he’s a winner between the lines…but the results are just not there to justify keeping him for those reasons alone.

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