Concerned with their lack of power, the Cubs are having internal discussions about how to get both Bryan LaHair and Anthony Rizzo in the lineup, according to Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Sun-Times.
‘‘When you’re sitting there discussing your projected lineup, you’ve got to figure out some kind of way to get two power-hitting left-handed bats in the lineup,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘You can just look across at the other locker room, and you see the advantages of Votto and Bruce. It’s a huge asset to have that in the lineup. Especially in the National League Central, where there’s no left-handed pitching, really.’’
This isn't something we've heard previously. All indications were that Bryan LaHair was only going to play first. He hasn't played the OF all year, including spring training.
But as LaHair noted himself,
‘‘I wouldn’t even look at it as a position change for me. I’ve been playing the outfield my whole life. I’m very comfortable in the outfield. I mean, I want to be the first baseman, but if it helps for him to be at first, it is what it is.’’
There seems to be little question that it would help the Cubs and it may even ease some of the pressure on Anthony Rizzo, who wouldn't have the burden of being the team's lone LH power source. It would allow him to start a little bit lower in the order as well.
There is one obstacle that looms, however, and that's Alfonso Soriano and his big contract in LF, the position LaHair would most likely play. Ironically, Soriano is the Cubs only RH power source, though you wouldn't know that by looking at this year's numbers. The Cubs only RH hitters with some power would be Starlin Castro and Geovany Soto, but Castro is more of a line drive hitter and Soto isn't hitting at all.
The idea of the Cubs having one, much less two LH power hitters in the lineup is a foreign one to most fans, but it could go a long way toward jump starting an offense that relies on Campana's legs and Castro's bat as it's only real consistent offense.
The Cubs may also soon face a problem that nobody would have imagined just one year ago. Too many lefties. The Cubs could conceivably have 5 lefties in their everyday lineup by August: David DeJesus, Brett Jackson, Bryan LaHair, Anthony Rizzo, and Ian Stewart --- and that's not even considering current starter Tony Campana, current rookie C Steve Clevenger and 2B prospect Adrian Cardenas, who could push for playing time in the near future.
The Cubs added two lefty bats in the offseason, David DeJesus and Ian Stewart. DeJesus is more of a stop gap solution while the Cubs took a flyer on Stewart to see if he could realize the tremendous promise he showed as a top Rockies prospect a few years back. It's early, but I don't expect either to be a long-term solution at this point. Barring the somewhat unlikely event that the Cubs find a keeper among Josh Vitters, Joe Mather, or Junior Lake for 3B for 2013, they may once again be on the market for a 3B, although this time it may end up being a RH hitter. One interesting idea would be a short term deal for former Red Sox Kevin Youkilis. It's obviously a player that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would be familiar with and the Red Sox have two top 3B prospects in Will Middlebrooks, who just got the call to Boston, and Xander Bogaerts who is close to being MLB ready.
It all starts with a potential LaHair move to the OF and a Rizzo promotion, but there are many things to consider in their internal conversations. The moves, if they were to be made, wouldn't be considered until at least June and probably not until after the all-star break, so that does give the Cubs some time to figure things out.