It’s only the middle of May, but this Chicago Cubs team has been a bit mroe exciting to watch than many expected them to be. If it wasn’t for an abysmal bullpen, they’d actually be a pretty decent ballclub, at least in terms of their record. In fact, they may actually have an All Star not named Starlin Castro.
Bryan LaHair has been an absolute force in the Cubs’ lineup this year, making a statement that perhaps he should have been in the bigs before 2012. LaHair has done the work this year both with a steady bat as far as his average goes, as well as the big power numbers. He likely won’t maintain his absurd .352 average and .445 on-base percentage, but his power numbers (10 home runs) are legit.
At this point, it’s pretty much established, finally at 29 years old, that LaHair is a Major League first baseman, and not the “AAAA player” that most assumed he was. Most fans and experts figured that LaHair would be nothing more than a placeholder for Anthony Rizzo. Instead, the Cubs could have a good problem on their hands within the next couple of weeks.
Anthony Rizzo has been spending his days with the Iowa Cubs mashing Triple A pitching. He has 13 home runs on the year, and is hitting .339. He might be up at this point, if it weren’t for the emergence of LaHair. But at some point, and it’s going to be soon, Rizzo and LaHair are going to be in the same batting order.
Scenarios abound as to how the Cubs can get the already anointed “first baseman of the future” into the Chicago lineup. Some involve a trade of LaHair at some point, or of Alfonso Soriano, but neither of the two sound very likely to be going anywhere anytime soon. It’s also been suggested that Rizzo could move to third base. He throws lefty, though, so that’s out.
So how do the Cubs get Rizzo and LaHair into the same lineup? Any potential lineup features Rizzo at first regardless, given his outstanding defense and the fact that LaHair is more than capable in the outfield. Do they bench Soriano? Move David DeJesus to center field? The latter seems more likely there, given that money talks and the team is much more likely to bench Tony Campana than Soriano, who isn’t going to be benched, cut, or traded any time soon.
No matter how the lineup shakes out, it’s going to be an exciting day when the Cubs send out a lineup dressing both Rizzo and LaHair in the batting order. Rizzo is going to force the Cubs to call him up, and once he is up he is going to stay, which is likely part of the hold up in calling him up. With the front office already looking at ways to get both of them into the lineup, it shouldn’t be long before we see both in the lineup.