The 2012 MLB season saw some of the highest highs and lowest lows for Bryan LaHair. He went from early season surprise, to All Star, to bench player for the Chicago Cubs. That timeline has opened up some questions as to his status for the 2013 season.
LaHair came into the season as the Cubs’ starting first baseman. Everyone knew that it would only be a temporary situation, with future superstar Anthony Rizzo waiting in the wings behind him. Even so, LaHair saw the most action he’d seen in his career, appearing in 130 games for the Cubs.
After the season started off with a bang, with a scorching April, LaHair began to fade once the summer months started taking their toll. He struggled to perform consistently, failing to find consistent playing time once Rizzo was called up. He finished with a .259 average and only 40 runs knocked in on the season.
His transition to the outfield was okay, but not as smooth as anyone would have liked. He did a serviceable job, but he’s not exactly the fleetest of feet out there.
The biggest issue facing LaHair is his (lack of) success against lefties. LaHair was absolutely putrid against left-handers, with a .063 average against them for the year. It’s that split that could cost him heading into the new season with the Cubs. So just what is the plan for Bryan LaHair heading into 2013?
If the offseason plan follows through as expected, the Cubs will have a full outfield. Alfonso Soriano probably won’t be traded, and the club likes David DeJesus. Look for them to look outside of the organization for a starting centerfielder. Anthony Rizzo is obviously locked in at first.
That doesn’t leave much room for LaHair. That means one of two things: he’ll either be relegated to a bench role full-time, or the Cubs will seek to trade him. There is value in a guy like LaHair. There are a couple of clubs out there that probably wouldn’t mind giving him a shot at first base, even if he isn’t a prospect anymore.
But the bench role is probably the more likely avenue. LaHair gives them a player who can fill in for Rizzo and spend some time in the outfield. Regardless of the plan for LaHair, his situation will be an intriguing one to watch for the Chicago Cubs this offseason.