The trade deadline is only three weeks away and the MLB rumors should start to fly hot and heavy. The Los Angeles Dodgers figure to be involved in quite a few after their trade with the Houston Astros for Carlos Lee fell through after Lee exercised his no-trade clause. Lee is now with the Miami Marlins and the Dodgers are still looking for a first baseman. There is one first baseman definitely on the market and that is the Chicago Cubs’ Bryan Lahair.
The Cubs have made it known they are going to be sellers at the deadline and are dangling just about everyone, including Lahair who is having something of a breakthrough season at the age of 29 years-old. Lahair is hitting .286 with 14 home runs and 30 RBI, an increase over the production the Dodgers are getting from James Loney. Loney has been terrible and has basically worn out his welcome with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. While LaHair might not be a surefire upgrade over Loney because the track record isn’t there, I believe the Dodgers and LaHair are a fit together.
LaHair seems to either collect a single or home run when he gets a hit with his 14 homers surpassing his 12 doubles. That could be viewed as something of negative but consider what the Dodgers have getting from Loney and one will quickly see LaHair is an upgrade. Loney has 2 home runs and 15 doubles with a .247/.309/.333 slash line. LaHair’s slash line .286/.364/.519 is a drastic improvement over Loney’s and adding LaHair to a lineup with a healthy Andre Eithier and healthy Matt Kemp would be an improvement over what LaHair has been playing with at Wrigley and there is no reason to think his numbers won’t get better or stay along the same path.
There is another reason LaHair could be such an attractive option for the Dodgers and that is the fact he won’t cost much in terms of prospects. Yes, Cubs GM Theo Epstein is going to try to maximize his value and get the best return he can for his first baseman but the fact remains he is a 29 year-old with only 2 years of MLB experience and the asking price shouldn’t be that high. LaHair could quickly become an attractive option for several teams because he should come cheaper than other first basemen on, or soon to be on the market like Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins or Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Dodgers might want to try and pull the trigger on this deal sooner rather than later.