Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Oh, why the heck not. DeRosa vs. Dunn

Only with Cub fans is this debate even possible, but here we are, measuring journeyman Mark DeRosa with mammoth power hitter Adam Dunn.

In case you don't follow the GROTA ShoutBox, a debate has been ensuing in which certain readers have been taking an interesting approach in marking out to Mark DeRosa.

A brief summary of the debate - I have been arguing for a month or so now that DeRosa would be an inadequate right fielder.  Contrary to what some argue, I don't think he has the arm to be a plus defense right fielder - but that pales in comparison with DeRosa's likelihood of being one of the worst-hitting right fielders in baseball next year.  It's not that he'll be a bad hitter by any means.  It's just that if he matches his career average, or even his 3-year-splits, he'll be in the bottom half offensively of all right fielders next year.

This becomes problematic because the Cubs are likely to see a decline in overall offensive production, and I'm advocating that, rather than passively allow for that to happen, Jim Hendry should try to stem the proverbial tide by picking up another bat to play right field.  Besides, even at his career averages, DeRosa is a plus hitter amongst second baseman.  Unless the Cubs are going to acquire a stud to replace his bat at the two-bag, making up for the poorer production of DeRo as a right fielder, I'd rather see the team go for a big bat.

One Goat Reader - well, lots actually - suggested that the booming production of Adam Dunn would look nice in the Cubs lineup.  The guy bats lefty, he hits the ball a mile, and he's a career .286 hitter at Wrigley Field.

Some people - in particular Nick V and miltie - take the stance that Dunn gets his hits when nobody is on base.  Actually, here's where this debate falls harder into the general argument of the value of RBI.

You've got guys like Joe Carter, who was an RBI machine throughout his career.  He drove in 100 or more 10 times in his career, despite being a .259 hitter.  Then, there are guys like Adam Dunn, who might hit 40 homeruns and drive in 101 RBI - a low total for so many homers.  So, here's the question that has really sprung the debate - if Dunn can't drive in more than 100 RBI, does that mean he can't hit with men on base?  Does that mean he's not productive the way the Cubs need?

The problem with Dunn in general is that he doesn't get many hits in general.  He's a .250 hitter at best.  But when he hits the ball, he mashes it.  And even when he doesn't hit the ball, he still has a 40% chance of not making an out.

The comparison here is between Dunn and DeRosa, because "Dunn's #'s with RISP do not seem to better than DeRosa's" - the inference here is that you might as well start DeRo in right and stick him wherever Dunn would bat.

Here's what it boils down to.  Dunn in the past 3 seasons had 693 at bats in which one or more runner was on base.  DeRosa - who doesn't even bat in the "sweet spot" of the lineup like Dunn actually had more - 726.  Although in terms of overall plate appearances, it was Dunn 861, DeRosa 819, but Adam walked way more than Mark in that time-span.

Regardless, despite having 33 fewer at bats, and 54 fewer hits, Dunn drove in 20 more RBI over a 3 year span with runners on in front of him.  DeRosa's overall average was .300, to Dunn's .237, but Dunn was still the more productive batter in terms of RBI - an apparently important figure to Nick V. and miltie.

Ultimately, the ability to "hit with runners on" or "hit in the clutch" does not exist, except for David Ortiz for a 3-or-so-year span in Boston.  The stats don't lie - over the span of a career, a hitter will often come very close to matching his career average whether he has runners on or not.  But regardless of whether or not a guy is batting .300 or .250 - or even .237 - he'll drive in way more runs when he's batting behind a Ricky Henderson and a Mark Grace, rather than a Corey Patterson and a Neifi Perez.  It has little to do with the batter and everything to do with the situation.

But I will allow for this - while I don't believe in "clutch" hitting, I do believe in anti-clutch.  The myth of the player who can always get the big hit is overrated, but the reality of the player who loses himself and under-produces in important situations is a harsh reality.  Just ask 2004 Corey Patterson and Aug-Sept 2004 Sammy Sosa.  But don't ask the guy who hit 53 of his last 120 homeruns with runners on base, because the Cubs would be guaranteed to score more runs if he was around.

So.  What can we conclude from all of this?  1) Dunn rakes.  2) He and DeRo are different types of players.  3) The Cubs would be offensively superior with Dunn in right. 4) RBI totals are a product of opportunities, not skill.  While it's true that the guy with superior ability will aways be more likely to drive in more RBI, the guy who'll drive in the most runs is the one with the most opportunities.  And 5) the fact that we're comparing Dunn to DeRo is Cub markdom at its worst.  The two just don't compare.  There's nothing wrong with appreciating DeRosa, he's a fine #2 hitter and a good second baseman, but why are we working ourselves into a mark lather over the guy?  I just don't get it.

pwned

I don't get why this was an argument in the first place. Adam Dunn > Mark Derosa.

GO CUBS WOO

I'd rather have DeRosa and I

I'd rather have DeRosa and I challenge anyone to provide adequate data to suggest that DeRosa in RF (Fontenot at 2nd) would not be BETTER than DeRosa at 2nd and Dunn in RF. It will be hard to do since DeRosa's Marcels projections (and Rally's defensive projections) have DeRosa at 2.11 WAR and Dunn at 2.06 WAR. Fontenot at 2.57 WAR. It's hard to show how one player who is not expected to be as good as 2 others is going to be better than one of the others.

There's no question Dunn is a better hitter. There's also no question Dunn sucks on defense and since you've compared the discrepancies on offense you MUST compare the discrepancies on defense.

Sorry, but Dunn for $15 million and DeRosa at $5.5 million or a DeRosa/Fontenot combination for $5.9 million? Consider the combination of DeRosa/Fontenot is actually expected to be better and you save $14.1 million while also being better than the alternative.

I know it's fashionable to like Dunn, and his offense is without a doubt impressive, but he's not nearly as good as people think. I don't want DeRosa as the starting RF. I'd just rather have him than Dunn. While it may be difficult for you to find some way to appreciate DeRosa's actual skills (you constantly belittle the guy), I just don't get it either (the love for Dunn).

As I said at the beginning, show me how Dunn makes this team better and I'll be convinced, but it's going to be very, very hard to do considering you have similar overall production and you could save a ton of money by doing one thing. I consider spending money on Dunn to be as silly as the Cubs signing Cesar Izturis for $15-20 million per season. They'd actually get worse at SS while spending money they don't need to. I want the Cubs to do something that makes sense and signing Dunn just doesn't.

Pretty easy. Dunn=lefty bat*

Pretty easy. Dunn=lefty bat* who gets on base** with massive clout*** and a career AVG over .280 at Wrigley Field**** whose defensive shortcomings are overcome by his offensive power.

*The Cubs are short on lefty bats
**The Cubs could always benefit from guys who walk
***When they lost to the Dodgers last season, they were missing any production from the middle of their lineup and Dunn provides them that
****No point in spelling it out - if he can outproduce his career averages next season based on playing 81 at Wrigley, he's an even better signing.

Anyway, if Dunn makes 15 million next season, then I'm the next Pope. It won't happen. The money's not anywhere. Dunn will be lucky to pull in 12. Regardless of that ... if the Cubs would be willing to pay him, who cares how much he makes?

Also regardless of that, he's not my first choice for the Cubs. I'd prefer a trade for a lefty RFer or the signing of a Milton Bradley. I just think that it takes a ridiculous amount of cubbie blue koolaid to put over DeRosa THAT much. I say admire him for what he's good at. Don't try to make him something he's not.

Also, I absolutely don't "belittle" DeRosa. That's a pretty ridiculous statment. I've said that DeRosa is one of the best offensive second basemen in the game who came >< this close to being "elite" level last season. It's not belittling to say he's a horribly shitty choice to play right field, Maddog. It's being realistic. He's a good second baseman. I love DeRosa on the team. I've argued that he's an ideal #2 hitter and he may even be one of the team's best choices to leadoff. Again, none of that is a cricism of him. But much as I know that I should not be anybody's first choice in a game of pickup basketball, I also know he shouldn't be anybody's first choice - or fourth - as the team's right fielder. Use him for his strengths.

And one last thought to keep you warm on this Holy Eve. The Cubs big weakness last October came in two categories - poor defense in the middle of the infield at inopportune times, and poor production from the heart of the batting order. Lest we forget that, moving DeRosa to RF doesn't address the team's inability to drive in runs. If the Cubs bring in a new RFer, it should be a guy who will replace Lee as the 3rd batter in the lineup. That's not what DeRosa would do, and the guy replacing him at 2B wouldn't do it either. Rather than continue this absurd Mark Lather for DeRosa in RF, maybe we should advocate that the Cubs actually upgrade where they need to. DeRo in RF solves nothing. Just being realistic here.

Who cares what kind of

Who cares what kind of offensive 2nd baseman he is, Kurt? That doesn't mean anything. That's like telling me Ryan Theriot is a decent offensive shortstop. He's also a decent offensive RF; not that that means anything. Dunn is a really good hitter, but a really bad fielder. Sure, he makes up for his defense with his offense, but his defense hurts his overall value. Say Dunn is worth 30 or 35 runs on offense. He's worth -15 on defense and probably more than that if you consider his arm as well. You end up with a player that is wroth about 20 runs. DeRosa? About 20 runs on offense (not even close to as good as Dunn), but league average to slightly above average on defense. Total value? About 20 runs. For only $5.5 million. Unless Dunn comes at the cost of Mike Fontenot, who is just as good as DeRosa, you're wasting money that could be spent elsewhere on actually improving the team.

Let's even be generous here. Let's say that Dunn is actually worth 10 more runs than DeRosa (this isn't even close to true, but play along). That's about 1 win more than DeRosa. That's it. So you're saying that signing Dunn for $10 or $12 million is worth ONE freakin' win? How about we spend that $10-12 million on a player that will be worth more than one win above what the Cubs already have?

Furthermore, I couldn't care less what he's hit at Wrigley Field. There's no evidence to suggest that players hit better in certain parks. It's meaningless and useless information.

You want a lefty bat? Sign Dunn just so we can have that lefty and only improve by one win at the absolute most? Just play Fontenot and spend that money on something that will actually improve the team.

And Kurt, the Cubs didn't have a big weakness in October. They played 3 games. That's it. Are you going to tell me the Cubs had weaknesses in Tampa Bay in June or on the southside in late June? I thought you were arguing that driving in runs was a product of runners on base? Now you're saying that DeRosa doesn't have that ability? Which is it, Kurt?

You're just looking at this as if the Cubs have to do one thing and one thing only. They have to get a lefty. They had problems up the middle in October, for those 3 games, 27 innings, which is somehow more representative than what they did the previous 1000 innings. They have to get someone to replace Lee. No. They have to get someone that improve the team and is worth the cost. It's really that simple. I don't care if they get a number 9 hitter that is worth 35 runs on defense and -10 runs on offense. 25 is greater is than 20 and that's the player the Cubs should get. Isn't 25 more than 20? How 'bout we actually try to improve the team the most by using what available resources the team has and forget about some 3 games in October or the need for just a lefty bat rather than a productive player or compare players to just their position while ignoring defense?

It's really this simple, Kurt. DeRosa worth about 20 runs. Dunn worth about 20 runs. Fontenot worth about 20 runs. Cubs already have DeRosa and Fontenot under contract for less than $6 million. They don't have Dunn under contact and he doesn't improve the team. So you spend money elsewhere. Am I missing something here?

Maddog: That's like telling

Maddog: That's like telling me Ryan Theriot is a decent offensive shortstop.

Well, actually, he's not. He's average at best. But not everybody can be Miguel Tejada ... I'm not really seeing your point, though.

Maddog: thought you were arguing that driving in runs was a product of runners on base? Now you're saying that DeRosa doesn't have that ability? Which is it, Kurt?

So you think DeRosa would be an ideal #3 hitter based on the one season in which he hit 20-or-so homeruns and drove in 85-or-so RBI?

Maddog: It's really this simple, Kurt. DeRosa worth about 20 runs. Dunn worth about 20 runs. Fontenot worth about 20 runs. Cubs already have DeRosa and Fontenot under contract for less than $6 million. They don't have Dunn under contact and he doesn't improve the team. So you spend money elsewhere. Am I missing something here?

And here you accuse me of creatively changing the argument. Yes, absolutely, in the lineup Dunn is more valuable than DeRosa. But the thing I'm arguing above anything else is that DeRo shouldn't be the right fielder. If the Cubs actually signed Dunn, my argument tomorrow would be that Dunn shouldn't be the right fielder.

But, you know, if Dunn's defense is really so atrocious that he loses his offensive value, then obviously the key here is for the Cubs to find every average-hitting player they can grab, sign him to a bargain contract since he can obviously be signed for 5 or 6 million a year, and win. I didn't realize that building baseball teams on a budget is so easy ... just find the exemplary defender with half a decent bat and win. Build a team of Fontenots and DeRosas.

You're off your rocker now.

You're off your rocker now. You've gone from actually trying to defend your arguments to just coming up with bullshit. Well done.

I'd just like to add that I'm not the one who has been screaming from the top of their lungs for days now about how bad a RF DeRosa would be DESPITE evidence to the contrary. no, that would be you. Again, well done.

Since it seems decisively

Since it seems decisively clear to me that you don't even know what I've been arguing all along, I think that telling me I'm "off my rocker" might be a misnomer at best.

You said - and you can't deny it - that if Dunn is worth 40 runs on offense, he's worth -15 on defense, while DeRosa is worth 25 runs on offense and loses 0 runs on defense, therefore making DeRosa a better choice because he's less expensive than Dunn.

So, I say - shit, if it's that easy, get all the guys who are worth 20 or 25 runs offensively and are plus defenders and win. Since they are obviously worth less to baseball in general, you could probably sign them all for between 4 and 8 million a year based on their positions, and it would be bargain baseball that would result in championships.

The evidence, however, that DeRosa would be a "good" right fielder next year exists in one place -- your head. But I have said that if it was actually at all likely that DeRo will mimic last year's numbers next year, then he's acceptable in RF. It just happens that every ounce of common sense and reality tell me - but not you, for some insane reason - that he won't duplicate last year's career performance.

So, I say again. Put your money where your mouth is. We can work out the details, but I bet you that DeRo will produce very close to his career averages/3 year split next season. If I'm right, I get to run your blog for a day in Oct 2009. If I'm wrong, the keys to GROTA are yours. But if I *am* right - and really, you'd be nuts to think I'm not - and DeRosa started in RF next year, batted .280ish, hit 12-or-so homeruns, and put up an OPS of around .770, then he'd be painful to watch out there. Because those numbers are really shitty for a right fielder. Seriously.

Have a Merry Christmas, Maddog. Now put up or shut up.

It's really

not a valid argument that the blanket statement that the team always benefits from more walks. When you are talking about a 4 or 5 hitter, especially one with a career BA under 250 in 7 seasons. It would seem to be more beneficial if he cut those 120 or so walks a year in half and put that country strong swing to use by putting the ball in play, no matter how many more K's he'd accumulate.

It's also hard to compare two players offensively and not consider their defense. DeRosa is no Dunn at the plate to be sure, and RF certainly isn't his best defensive position, but I'd have a hard time believing Dunn who struggled in LF would be better in RF either. As far as arm strength goes, I don't know many ex-quarterbacks that aren't named Pennington, that don't have a strong arm and DeRosa has on more than one occasion been applauded for his arm strength. I'm not saying he is the Hawk in RF, but compared to Dunn, it's no contest.

The Cubs need a power LHB for sure, but coupling Dunn with Soriano in the outfield is going to cost the Cubs runs and that negates some of Dunn's production just like it does Soriano's. At least Soriano can make up for some of his defensive ineptitude with his athleticism, which is not the case with Dunn.

Since the Cubs seem to have a suitable LHB to replace DeRosa at 2B, would it really be the best use of payroll to sign a player like Dunn? Hell if we don't care about defense, I'd rather have less HR's from a 300 hitter like Abreu. I know we are not debating who the best free agent signing the Cubs could make, but I don't think any of the big three left are going to earn less than $10M per and Bradley is hands down the most complete player, bat shit crazy and brittle or not.

The next think you'll tell me

The next think you'll tell me is that it would be belittling of me to say that Carlos Marmol would be a poor starting pitcher.

No, what you've done is

No, what you've done is exaggerate how poor DeRosa would be in RF to fit YOUR argument that he's not good enough rather than actually looking at the available stats (offensive and defensive). You're merely trying to argue a point you think is true, but have nothing to back it up and instead of actually taking a critical look at it, you're digging in and in order for you to convince others you feel you have to portray DeRosa as a worse player than he really is.

I don't want DeRosa in RF either, but I'm aware enough to recognize that the improvement over DeRosa isn't that significant, if at all, and that the Cubs would be better served by acquiring someone else. You've come up with this idea that he's merely average at 2B on offense and therefore bad on offense in RF and that Dunn's significant offensive advantage should allow us to ignore DeRosa's significant defensive advantage. Rather than compare 2 hitters, you're trying to make this about 2 positions. And no matter what anyone shows you, you will not believe it. You've made up your mind and everyone else is wrong. Can you really justify spending $10 million or more on player that improves the team as little (if at all) as Dunn does? I sure can't. I hope the hell the Cubs can't justify it too.

What I've said is that he was

What I've said is that he was slightly above average compared to the regular RFers in 2008, and that he'd be likely to be below average based on his career averages. Which you have ignore ignore ignored. (Sorry, just emphasizing for... well, for emphasis). I've said that he puts up great numbers and is respectable defensively at second base, so why move him to a position where by comparison he'd underpeform? This has turned into you saying that I'm "belittling" DeRo (I hope his feelings haven't been hurt) and that I'm "exaggerating how poor he'd be in RF to fit my argument" when I'm literally COMPARING HIS EFFING NUMBERS TO THE OTHER RIGHT FIELDERS IN BASEBALL, WHICH YOU ARE IGNORING. Sorry. Lost it there for a second.

I can only imagine how you'd react if I actually did come out and say that Carlos Marmol would be a shitty starting pitcher. You'd probably flip out. So, I'll take the other approach...

Mark DeRosa is so awesome he could be an astronaut if he wanted to be!

He wasn't slightly above

He wasn't slightly above average last year. This is easy information to find yet you are completely ignoring and trying to pass of that he was barely above average. He was not. I'd appreciate it if you stopped lying about it.

I don't care if his feelings are hurt, but you're on a nonsensical mission here that isn't rooted in anything other than some ridiculous hunch you have and everyone else who chimes in with actual information is wrong and drinking the kool-aid. It's bullshit and piss-poor on your part to do as you have done. You haven't proven anything and many things have been mentioned, much of it statistical and you just choose to ignore it and keep your previous opinions.

Compare his numbers to other right fielders then. He was above average last year and above average with the glove. He'd be slightly above average in RF. This is, as I've said, information that is free of charge to you. Find it. Make it your friend and stop attacking me because you can't prove that your irrational hunches are right. You've not addressed a single issue I've brought up. Not even one of them. Instead, you call me a kool-aid drinking Cubs fan when the fact of the matter is that I cannot stand Cubs fans. I like them less than I like almost anything. They're ignorant pieces of trash, full of shit, and not worthy of saving from a potential disaster. There, I've made my opinions of Cubs fans well known (here and at ACB and other places). I'm not the one who buys useless Cubs merchandise and idolizes these freaks. I assume they're all pieces of shit and I wouldn't even piss on most of them if they were on fire. It may sound awful, but I wouldn't lose a blink of sleep if one or several of them passed away. Don't try to say I'm drinking the kool-aid. I hate almost everything Cubs. Except the Cubs. The last thing I will ever do is talk up one of these guys more than necessary.

Kurt, It's one thing to have

Kurt,

It's one thing to have a spirited debate. It's another to purposely mischaracterize what one says in order for you to feel like your making a point. Saying that I'm marking for DeRosa is BS. I was using him to show how average Dunn's #'s with RISP are.

"the inference here is that you might as well start DeRo in right and stick him wherever Dunn would bat."

You draw an inference based on my statement that you quoted even though you know that the inference you're drawing is not true. You know this because you specifically asked me if I would stick DeRo in right over Dunn and I told you I would not.

"DeRosa's overall average was .300, to Dunn's .237, but Dunn was still the more productive batter in terms of RBI - an apparently important figure to Nick V. and miltie."

No kidding. Once again, I specifically told you that over-all Dunn was the more productive hitter.

The issue I brought up is Dunn with RISP. This seems to be an important stat/category to some GROTA writers/readers. (See KP's entry Still a Novel).

Are Dunn's #'s with RISP relevant? Perhaps. Ideally, if he were to play for the Cubs, if runners are in scoring position he is NOT my first choice to be at the plate. Without looking further I would guess he's probably not my second or even third. His power numbers seem to be at their most valuable mainly when there is a man at first. Now I have not checked this out but I'm not sure where in the lineup he should belong knowing what we know or what we think we know about that kind of situational hitting.

I think that saying DeRosa

I think that saying DeRosa compares to Dunn would be like saying Dunston compared to Larkin. I'd call that a mark out. Sorry if you disagree with me there.

Then again ... I did identify that in fewer at bats and with fewer hits, Dunn drove in more runs with runners on than DeRosa over the past 3 years ... and you're still arguing that you'd rather have DeRo in that situation than Dunn. What would you call that type of thinking? Swilling the cubbie blue koolaid? Wearing the rose colored glasses?

I call it marking out. We all do it sometimes, I'm a huge Kerry Wood Mark ... no offense.

I think you're missing

I think you're missing Miltie's point Kurt. It seems like he's acknowledging that Dunn is better than DeRosa. But what he is pointing out is that he's not THAT much better than DeRosa in the situations brought up. And I believe Miltie has argued Dunn with RISP, not just with men on. But you keep referring to Dunn with just men on base.

Basically you are comparing apples to oranges.

"I did identify that in fewer

"I did identify that in fewer at bats and with fewer hits, Dunn drove in more runs with runners on than DeRosa over the past 3 years ... and you're still arguing that you'd rather have DeRo in that situation than Dunn."

Oddly enough, I pointed this out before you did.

That situation? What situation? Read my posts. The only situation that I want DeRo in over Dunn is when runners are in scoring position. I don't think that's a crazy position by any means.

I don't know how to make this more clear for you. Nothing in my posts suggests shilling for DeRo. In fact I told you I'd rather see Dunn in right field. How much clearer do I have to make it? It's almost as if you'd rather stick a freakin screwdriver in your eye than admit that you mispoke. Come on man.

In any event. This topic has been worn out.

Question for everyone. If we were to get Dunn where in the lineup would he be placed? It seems as if he has spent the majority of his career in the five spot. I don't remember following the D-backs that carefully last year. Initially I think Dunn was in the clean-up spot. But I'm not sure if Connor Jackson filled that role for most of Dunn's time there. Any thoughts?

I can play this game too. I

I can play this game too.

I did identify that over the course of a season that DeRosa and Dunn's offense and defense are nearly identical...and you're still arguing that you'd rather have Dunn for all the millions he'd cost. What would you call that type of thinking?

The kool-aid thing doesn't work with me. I don't even like most of the Cubs players. Actually, I can't think of one that I really do like. I don't like Wrigley. I don't like Cubs fans. The only thing I like that has anything to do with the Cubs is the Cubs. If DeRosa's name was Joe Blow and he was as good as Dunn, I'd say it. There aren't undeniable facts available that prove this, but there are some overwhelmingly convincing ones that you are willfully ignoring and then saying it's the other people who are drinking kool aid. I don't know what kool-aid drinking means for sure, but it's often used when someone isn't being rational and I think you need to look in the mirror, Kurt.

I've provided some evidence as to why they are equals, but the only evidence you've provided is that Dunn is a better hitter, which everybody already knows. Feel free to continue ignoring it, but yelling louder doesn't make you more accurate.

#3 Hitter in the Batting Order

Why has no one even considered the idea of Soriano batting 3rd and Lee hitting 5th or 6th depending on who the team adds through free agency or trades? Having Soriano's production in the lead-off spot makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. He strikes out a ton (103 K's in 109 Games) and when he does get on base he's really not even a threat to run anymore. I would honestly bet if you polled all NL opposing pitchers and managers, you would find that most love to see one of the cub's most dangerous hitters in the lead-off spot where the damage he can do is minimized before the game even begins. In the lead-off spot he is guaranteed no less than 1 AB each game with no one on, and add to that the fact that when his spot in the order does come up again he hits after the pitcher who rarely reaches base. In fact I would argue that Soriano rarely gets things going to start off a game, and if he does its a double with no one on base or a solo HR. The fact that he hits lead-off makes no baseball sense at all, and the only reason I can even see that does bat lead-off is because he is a selfish baby. He would be better served in the 2 hole or the 3rd spot in the order, where at least 5 of his HR would likely come with someone on base. I contribute a major part of Theriot's unsuccessful base-stealing attempts to the fact that he is more limited in when he can run by the fact that he is on base ahead of the 3-4-5 hitters, and when he does run its a situation where the entire stadium knows he is about to run. By moving Soriano down in the order I think it improves the entire top portion of the batting order; where Theriot can hit lead-off and run more, Soriano hits with more runners on base and has more opportunities to drive in runs, Aramis has more protection with Fonsi hitting in front of him and D-Lee hitting behind him, and lastly D-Lee would be able to hit at a spot in the order that he is more capable of being productive in such as the 5 or 6 spot. Suddenly the middle of the batting order becomes much more solid, and the cubs haven't even made a move outside of the organization yet. To me, it is beyond comprehension why a team, by choice, would handicap one of their most dangerous hitters by setting up the batting order to where that hitter bats 50% of the time with no one on base. Soriano's numbers are down because he can only score 1 run per at bat, and they will continue to be down for the rest of his time with the cubs if he hits lead-off. A lead-off hitter needs to get on base (Sori doesn't with a .329 career OBP) and he needs to work the count, steal bases, and score runs - all of which Sori is lacking. Instead he would be an ideal 3 hitter ahead of Aramis where he can tee off on 1st pitch fastballs and have the ability to produce up to the $136M he signed for. It would kind of be like picking up Ichiro; but then you shoot him in the foot, make him bat 9th, and make him hit right-handed. Soriano not leading off seems like a pretty basic baseball strategy, yet there he still remains. Dear Santa.........................................................

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