A recommendation or two for the construction of our bench
With Milton Bradley now officially in the fold, it's now time for us to consider how our Cubs bench should be ideally put together. My main thoughts on this come from several different ideas:
1. It seems obvious to me and most others that Milton Bradley, while a dynamic hitter, is unlikely to play more than about 100-120 games in right field maximum due to fatigue, defensive issues, and his injury prone nature.
2. I am of the opinion that our 3 corner playing big sluggers (Soriano, Ramirez, and especially D Lee) would be more effective throughout the year and perhaps fresher in October if we could give them slightly more rest during the season. While he will not like it, I especially think it is time to try and limit Lee's at bats slightly, maybe give him a more occasional day off....day games after night games, against very difficult right handed pitchers, etc etc.
3. We need someone who makes very little money probably, who can bat lefthanded off our bench perhaps, and who could ideally play both outfield corners, third base, and first base, all at least reasonably well.
4. As our bench is likely to be constituted currently, our best right handed hitters off our bench would be Cedeno and Johnson...not exactly scary for the opposition. We could also use a right handed hitter with some thump off our bench.
So, factoring all that in, in my view we could use a couple of quality bench players, with one of them having the possibility of getting 400-500 at bats. That sound too high to you? Here is how I estimate it:
Supersub: Starts 40-50 games in right field, 15-25 games in left field, 10-20 games at third base, and 20-30 games at first base. My estimates assume there will be some injuries throughout the year, but nothing catastrophic or season ending. I think those are realistic possibilities for Bradley, Soriano, Ramirez, and Lee to not get the starting nod due to rest or injury for each.
Ok, so who fits that description?
I think Mark Teahen of the Royals should be a Jim Hendry trade target. He makes on 2.35 million in 08, and he isn't signed long term after that. He can play serviceable defense at all 4 corner spots in the field, and he bats left handed with a little thump and good doubles power. He is on the good side of 30, so it is at least possible that he hasn't hit to his full potential yet. But even if he gives 400 at bats or so, hits something like 10-12 home runs and drives in 50-60 runs with a .270 or so average, he would still be a huge piece for our ball club. On top of that, he can be our primary left handed pinch hitter off the bench.
I think Mark Teahen makes alot of sense for us to pursue as a bat off our bench, and we may have a piece or 2 the Royals would like in our farm system, including perhaps Felix Pie, or maybe even the blocked Wellington Castillo. I'm not sure what the Royals would want from us, and I wouldn't give up the farm for Teahen, but there is a definite need for a player who can do for us what his skill set is.
As far as the right handed hitter with power I think we need off our bench, I'm open to suggestions. Cub nation, any thoughts?