Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The Lefty Question

A lot has been made of the Cubs and their lack of left-handed hitting talent.  In fact, as Jim Hendry gears up for yet another off season campaign of trying to improve the team, many fans would prefer that he adds minimally two lefty bats to the lineup.

The problem is that, in terms of miracle men, only Jeebus was able to produce something out of nothing.  Hendry may be adept at getting the players he wants, but if there just aren't any lefties on the market, then the Cubs will have to make due with another righty-heavy lineup next year.

At the moment, these are the guys Hendry may choose to pursue due to being born with the strange gift of having semi-useless right hands:

2B Orlando Hudson - bats switch.
SS Raffy Furcal - bats switch.
SS Felipe Lopez - bats switch.  Lopez is actually a bit of a reclamation project.  In 2005, at the age of 25, Lopez smacked 23 homers, drove in 83 RBI, and batted .291 with an OBP of .352 for the Reds.  Since that time, he's fallen off the offensive map - a man who once hit for power and stole 44 bases in '06 hit 6 homeruns, drove in 46 RBI, and stole 8 bases in 16 tries while batting .283 with a .343 OBP in 481 at bats.  Actually, the ironic thing is that Lopez would probably be an offensive upgrade on Theriot, and while he's considered defensively "mediocre," he probably isn't worse than Theriot there either.  Consider him my sleeper pick to be a free agent signing.
OF Milton Bradley - bats switch.
OF Adam Dunn - bats left.

And really, in terms of competent players who can hit left-handed, that's about it.  If Jim Hendry is really gung-ho and has the assets to do it, I suppose the Cubs could have a lineup next year that includes Fukudome, Hudson, Dunn, and Lopez, all of whom capable of swinging from the left-side of the plate.  But is it as important as we're led to believe?

Sure, I've just filled an entire article talking about it, offering suggestions, and so-on, but basically I think the only reason The Lefty Question is a big deal is because it's October, nothing news-worthy is happening, and journalists need to fill up entire articles, too.  While it is certainly true that the Cubs offense flailed and faltered in the post season, I don't think things would've been different with more left-handed hitters.  More important than a balanced lineup is a lineup of good hitters.

Regardless, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hendry make a few moves to pick up a few lefty-hitters.  But will the Cubs be in trouble with only one or two in their lineup?  Nah, not if everybody else can hit.

Griffey Jr? Abreu?

Griffey Jr? Abreu?

You mean Old and Older? Both

You mean Old and Older?

Both players are past their primes and Griffey is seriously on the decline. The Cubs need to get players who will actually HELP them win, not players who will fall apart as the season progresses.

I think that Fontenot can

I think that Fontenot can fill in at 2B and there is really no good reason to go after Hudson. Furcal would be a nice upgrade, but is that feasable?

It seems that the best bats are availiable in the outfiend (Dunn, who kills at Wrigley and Manny Ramirez). If Soriano could handle another move (this time to right), his arm would still be a benefit and we could use Pie's defense in center and tolerate his bat with Dunn/Ramirez and Soriano at the plate.

I think that all things being equal, we should try to get a lefthander, but the better player trumps being able to hit left-handed.

I too was very pleased with

I too was very pleased with the play of Fontenot this year, but let's be serious. As a reliable, every-day player for a first place team, he's not my first - or fourth - choice. He's a great hitter off the bench, though ... let's leave him there.

Every Playoff Team

has some youngsters on it, so let's look at the Cubs, Fontenot, The Riot, Cedeneo, Hoffpauir and Pie.

Pie is out of options in an outfield that has Soriano, Johnson if resigned, Fukudome and DeRosa. I know everyone thinks DeRosa is a 2B but do you really think he's a bigger defensive liability in RF than 2B? Hendry has really tied the Cubs hands on this one. Do we give up on Pie? Could he be packaged with Lee to the Angels, Giants, Padres or Yankees? Pie may never amount to anything but if we let him go we get nothing.

Fontenot has a leg up on The Riot and Cedeneo and not just because he bats LH, but he actually has some pop in his bat.

You all know my feelings on Hoffpauir, but if we keep Lee or sign a Teixeira, he'll probably go back down to AAA.

The Riot may have some value on the trade market but then the signing of FA Furcal would be a must.

Cedeneo would make a credible backup at SS and 2B, so he could still stick on the MLB roster.

If Fukudome turns out to be a bust, Hendry's big move last year really hamstrings the lineup.

Furcal

The Cubs should pursue Furcal. They'd have a real lead-off man, and an upgraded shortstop. The Cubs need defense in right, and that's not something that Dunn, Soriano, or Bradley are great at. As far as Milton Bradley vs. Adam Dunn goes, I'd prefer neither. Milton Bradley has a great OBP, and fewer strikeouts than Dunn, but he's hurt too much. I love Adam Dunn's power and the number of walks that he draws, but his strikeouts are atrocious. Plus, neither of these guys can field. I think I'd prefer a solid left handed bat, with a good OBP, and great fielding and sacrifice the power numbers that either of those guys put up.

No one complains...

...about Ryan Howard's K's. I'm not a stat man like some here, but I'm willing to think Dunn's run production will win more games than his defense or strikeouts will lose games.

Dunn could put up .270 BA, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 100 BB & 175 K's with 12 errors and 3 assists. I'd accept that for a left handed hitting left fielder hitting 4th or 5th on our team.

You're probably right. I am

You're probably right. I am coming from a really selfish viewpoint on this one. I just hate to watch guys strikeout. I suppose I am wary of acquiring another Sammy Sosa all-or-nothing type swinger. But i guess he does walk a lot too.

I thought that also...

...but this supporting cast can cushion his negatives IMO.

I don't doubt that they can,

I don't doubt that they can, but I would be furious every time Dunn strikes out with runners on. I'd just end up saying "there he goes again", or something similar.

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