When Will Anthony Rizzo Be Promoted?
June 8, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Cubs designated hitter Alfonso Soriano (12) is congratulated by first baseman Brian LaHair (6) after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
If it is not the team’s offense, then it is usually the team’s bullpen that fails to seal a victory for the Chicago Cubs. But in spite of the Cubs’ bullpen woes, the ineptitude of the Cubs’ offense is what has plagued the team during the first two months of the season. Many fans think that they know the solution to solving the Cubs’ offensive struggles. That solution would be to promote first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Major League team. That is solution that many Cubs’ fans have discussed since the early days of Spring Training.
Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum said a few weeks ago that it was possible that the Cubs would promote Rizzo for the interleague games beginning with the series against the Minnesota Twins. That plan was nixed by the Cubs’ front office. For the most part, the Cubs front office keeps quiet in terms of their plan for Rizzo.
Though, when Cubs’ president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, or vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod do offer statements about Rizzo they all echo a similar tune. That tune being that Rizzo is close to being Major League ready and is in the finishing touches of his development with the Iowa Cubs.
We are inching closer to Rizzo’s Cubs’ debut. Remember we are a little under two weeks away from it being June 21. What that means is that any date after June 21, the Cubs can promote Rizzo to the Major League level without the risk of losing a year of control over the first baseman.
However, it is unlikely that come June 22, Rizzo will miraculously be ready for the Major Leagues. That begs the question when will Rizzo be promoted?
In order for Rizzo to play everyday with the Cubs, he would need a spot on the field to play. As things stand, Bryan LaHair is the starting first baseman with Alfonso Soriano, Joe Mather/Tony Campana, and David DeJesus starting in the outfield. If Cubs fans want to see Rizzo with the Major League team, then they need to cheer for Soriano and his hot streak.
During the month of May, Soriano hit .290/.353/.591/.944 with 7 home runs and 17 RBIs. Soriano’s power input has continued during the month of May. In 30 at bats in the month of June, Soriano is hitting .300 to go along with 4 home runs and 9RBIs. This is the type of streak that Soriano is known for. Normally, Soriano’s streak would benefit the Cubs in regards to their place in the National League Central division standings. However, Soriano’s streak this season benefits the Cubs in another way this season. With the draft over, the Cubs front office has begun to draw up their plan for the July 31 trade deadline. One of the Cubs highest priorities to accomplish before that date is to trade Soriano. Soriano’s power streak is likely gaining the attention of the teams that are looking for a power hitter, specifically American League teams in need of a designated hitter. This would be why the Cubs need to trade Soriano as soon as they can. There is approximately $45 million left on Soriano’s contract, and the Cubs will likely be on the hook for the majority of it. But with Soriano in the midst of impressive power display, his trade value may not be as high as it is right now.
It is safe to say that as long as Soriano is on the team, Rizzo will remain with the Iowa Cubs. Once the Cubs trade Soriano–a move that I expect to happen before July 31–that would create an opening in left field. LaHair would then move to left field, and Rizzo will take over at first base. Until that happens,we can enjoy Rizzo doing his best impression of Babe Ruth with the Iowa Cubs.