Los Angeles Dodgers Pursuing Carlos Lee, Not Bryan LaHair
Jun 16, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair (6) reacts to striking out in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Wrigley Field. The Red Sox won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been on team that has been closely linked to the trade rumors involving the Chicago Cubs. That reason is because the Dodgers are seeking an improvement to their starting rotation. And the Dodgers would like that improvement to be Cubs’ starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. The Dodgers’ interest in Dempster dates back to the beginning of the month of June. The Dodgers were close to pulling the trigger on a trade for Dempster until the Cubs placed the starting pitcher on the disabled list. For that reason, the Dodgers’ pursuit of Dempster was placed on hold. Though, the Dodgers have not forgotten about Dempster. Reports have surfaced over the past 24 hours that the Dodgers are patiently waiting for Dempster to return from the disabled and then make a trade for the veteran starting pitcher. Dempster will return from the disabled list after the All-Star break.
In the meantime, the Dodgers are pursuing a corner infielder. Various baseball reporters and insiders have reported since last night that the Dodgers are working on a trade for Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros. The proposed deal would include Lee being traded to the Dodgers for pitching prospect Garrett Gould. As of this post, no deal between the Astros and Dodgers is believed to be close.
Though, this rumored deal between the Dodgers and Astros had me thinking. The same can be said for many Cubs fans. If the Astros are indeed able to trade Carlos Lee, especially for respectable prospect in Gould, shouldn’t the Cubs be able to trade Alfonso Soriano?
That is certainly an interesting thought, but that is not the scenario that came to my mind when I first read about the rumored Carlos Lee trade. The though that came to my mind involved Bryan LaHair. The Dodgers have been seeking a corner infielder, and there were reports that LaHair was among their targets. It stands to reason that trading for LaHair would be an a lot more affordable option for the Dodgers as opposed to Lee.
Not only is LaHair’s contract status team-friendly, the first baseman turned right fielder has out-performed Lee this season. In 61 games this season, Lee is hitting .290/.342/.412 to go along with 5 home runs and 29 RBIs for the Astros this season. Meanwhile, LaHair–in his first full season with a Major League team–is hitting .288/.369/.534 to go along with 13 home runs and 28 RBIs in 66 game this season. Had LaHair been surrounded with more talent around him, his RBI totals would be higher than what they currently are.
Despite that fact that LaHair has the edge over Lee this season and the fact that LaHair’s contract is team-friendly, the Dodgers still are opting for Lee. My guess is that the Dodgers tried for LaHair but were rebuffed in their efforts. Meaning, the Cubs may not be as inclined to trade LaHair as originally thought. The same reason why teams would want LaHair is the same reason why the Cubs would want to keep LaHair. With this being his first full-season in the Major Leagues, LaHair has yet to go through the arbitration process. Meaning any team that has LaHair would have him under their control for at least the next three seasons. If LaHair continues to be the power threat that he has been this season, he is a very valuable asset.
Now the Dodgers may be skeptical of LaHair being able to produce for the entire season, but I tend to believe that the Cubs’ front office is not all that interested in trading LaHair at this time.