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.