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Bryan LaHair Won’t Be Playing Here For Much Longer


For as much as Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein was willing to praise Bryan LaHair last winter, it is somewhat surprising that the first baseman/outfielder is being overlooked while he remains on the playing roster. LaHair, even after being endorsed by Epstein last off-season, was never considered to be a long-term asset for the Cubs. The perception was that LaHair was simply keeping the first base position warm for Anthony Rizzo. LaHair was able to remain as the Cubs’ starting first baseman until late June, and that was the beginning of the end for the All Star first baseman.

Sept 11, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair (6) hits a single to right field against the Houston Astros during the second inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

That is another thing that most forget about LaHair, he was voted into the All Star game for his first half performance. During the first half of the season, and for the sake of this article I’m marking the All Star game as the halfway point, LaHair collected 231 at bats posting a slash line of .286/.364/.519/.883 to go along with 14 home runs and 30 RBIs. The second half has been a much different story for LaHair. LaHair won’t see nearly the same number of at bats that he did in the first half, as the 29 year old only has 91 at bats in the second half and has rarely seen his name penciled in the starting lineup. In those 91 at bats, LaHair has a slash line of .187/.267/.264/.531 to go along with 1 home run and 4 RBIs.

One could contest that the Cubs are facing the same problem with LaHair that they faced with Tyler Colvin. That problem being how much of LaHair’s struggles offensively can be attributed to the fact that he is not seeing playing time on a regular basis? No matter what sport, in order for the player to have success, he needs to develop a rhythm by playing on a regular basis. Doing so would make that player accustom to the every day grinds of playing as opposed to being somewhat unprepared while playing sparingly. Much like Colvin’s lack of playing time last season was the pre-cursor to the outfielder being traded to the Colorado Rockies, expect the same outcome for LaHair.

Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum talked about LaHair on Monday, and his comments would seem to indicate that the career minor leaguer prior to this season is not in the Cubs’ plans for 2013.

"Is there anything LaHair can do to help his playing-time prospects next year?“I think for his sake he needs to go play winter ball again and get those at-bats he missed out on and be ready for spring training just like he was this year,” Sveum said.But won’t it still be hard for him to find playing time?“Yeah, that goes unsaid really,” Sveum said. “Rizzo is healthy and playing time will be tough to find.” ESPN Chicago"

It’s common logic, there is no spot on the Cubs roster for LaHair. Anthony Rizzo is not going anywhere and will be the Cubs’ starting first baseman for the long haul. With Brett Jackson seemingly starting the 2013 season as the Cubs’ starting center fielder thus moving David DeJesus to right field, LaHair no longer has a spot to play in the outfield. Some would point out that the Cubs could trade left fielder Alfonso Soriano, and then play LaHair in left fielder. My response to that would be similar to what I said this weekend about Soriano and that is that it seems unlikely that the left fielder will be traded this off-season.

Yes, it was fun to enjoy the story book scenario that LaHair experienced during the first half of the season, but the story has since concluded and reality has surfaced. Reality is that LaHair was nothing but a short term asset for the Cubs front office, and expect the Cubs to trade the former Mariner this winter.