What about right field?

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So the Cubs have a center fielder/lead-off man, and a good one at that. That leaves right field as the hole remaining to be filled.

There are several option, but let's look at what the Cubs need by first looking at what they're replacing.

Jeromy Burnitz played a decent right field for the Cubs last year. I have to admit I was annoyed when the Cubs picked him up, but he did the best job anybody could filling in for Sammy Sosa: he provided a decent bat and kept his mouth shut. I think the Cubs should have given him a class bonus before sending him on his way.

Anyway, here are his stats:

AVG: .258 HR: 24 RBI: 87 R: 84 SB: 5

Like I said, decent.

I don't think the Cubs need to do all that significantly better than this statistically to be great this year. The more, the merrier of course, but what matters are consistency and presence.

With that in mind, here are my suggestions:

  1. Reggie Sanders - Were he not appraching 39 years old, I would say this is the end of discussion, but his age merits some careful consideration. Reggie is a complete player; here are his stats from last year for when he played just 93 games for St. Louis

    AVG: .271 HR: 21 RBI: 54 R: 49 SB: 14

    Extrapolate those out to 150 games and you have about 35 HR and 75 RBI. Plus, he brings a veteran presence to a line-up that isn't as full of proven veterans as Dusty Baker is used to working with.

  2. Juan Encarnacion - Here are ths stats:

    AVG: 287 HR:16 RBI:76 R:59 SB:6

    Encarnacion is not yet 30, meaning if he works out, he could hang around for a while. An ex-Marlin, he's familiar with Juan Pierre and Derek Lee, adding chemistry as the Cubs could build up their ex-Marlin army.

  3. Rondell White - "Didn't we try this guy already?" you ask. Indeed we did, but this time around, he wouldn't be playing second-fiddle. He'd be fourth- or fifth- fiddle, which is more appropriate for him.

    The stats last year, in just 97 games:

    AVG: .313 HR: 12 RBI: 53 R: 49 SB: 1

    That comes out to about 17 HR and 75 RBI over 150 games.

    UPDATE: A commenter pointed out that Rondell might well be nicknamed "Mr. Glass." Not something the Cubs need.

  4. Preston Wilson - Another ex-Marlin, Preston could fit right in with the Cubs line-up. Put him between Lee and Ramirez and he could see some pretty good pitches and build upon these stats from last year:

    AVG: .260 HR: 25 RBI: 90 R: 73 SB: 6

  5. Kenny Lofton - Another veteran, Lofton would bring a different set of skills than the previous guys.

    AVG: .335 HR: 2 RBI: 36 R: 67 SB: 22

    Less power and more speed with a higher average. Adding his run-scoring to Pierre's could be the right mix for the big bats of Ramirez, Lee and Matt Murton (if he proves to be as good as management thinks he will be).

  6. Carl Everett - Fresh off of a championship season, he could bring a winning attitude to the clubhouse. I seem to remember reports of him being a hot-head, though (anybody confirm or deny that? Eric?). If so, I would say stay away.

    AVG: .251 HR: 23 RBI: 87 R: 58 SB: 4

Those are the free agent options. Any of them would be at least equal to Burnitz, and many of them bring an element of winning experience that the Cubs sorely need.

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All previous reports on Everett had him labeled as a hot head, but he seemed to coexist well with his teammates last season (except for that month or so that Big Frank was healthy and he wasn't getting as much playing time). My issue with him is that he's too streaky. When he's hot he's hot, but he has the tendency to strike out way too much in clutch situations. Hey, at least that's something that the Cubs are used to! (Sorry, couldn't resist)

What about Nomar for right field? Everyone else who is interested in him is asking him to play the outfield anyway.

Eric, I'd be upset if I could argue the point.... thanks for the tip!

Leo, that's an interesting idea, but one of my keys is presence. The Cubs definitely can't afford to go with somebody likely to get injured. We're going with a rookie in left field this year, and even Murton looks pretty good, you want to be prepared if something happens.

Presence? Then why did you pick Rondell White? He was hurt for much of his life with the Cubs.

Blaow. Good point. I overlooked the fact that Rondell hasn't played a full season this millenium.

Regarding Nomar, he is now unavailable until May 1 because the Cubs didn't offer arbitration. Hendry seems to be think it is too much risk to place the guy in the outfield where he's never played.

What happened to all of the hubbub about Aubry Huff? I saw his name mentioned with the Cubs a lot for a few weeks and then nothing. He didn't have his best year in 2005 but from his stats he looks like a workhorse.

Seeing as how the Cubs came out of the winter meetings without a right fielder, it looks ike they plan to address the issue through trade.

My guess is this means Corey Patterson is gone. He'll be shipped to a team that thinks they can do something with him. This will probably be the best for everyone involved, but it's too bad the Cubs couldn't do anything with him, and is a definite red mark on Dusty's record.

Whatever happened to Felix Pie? Wasn't he supposed to be a superstar for the Cubs in the outfield? I know he played CF in the minors, but now with the acquisition of Pierre would they consider moving Pie to right?

Pie was headed for a September call-up before he got injured and missed the rest of the season with an ankle stress fracture.

My guess is the Cubs will pick up a right fielder through shipping Corey Patterson off through a trade. Pie will play AAA in Iowa unless an outfielder goes down with an injury or really stinks it up for the first half of the season.

Pie does seem like the real deal, but he's only 20 and he has yet to play above AA.


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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on December 8, 2005 8:04 AM.

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