Who’s On Second for the ’06 Cubs?

The Three-Headed Monster Could Patrol Second Base for the Cubs

The last time there was a three-headed monster in Chicago….was the late 90’s for the Bulls. Come on….we all remember Luc Longley, Bill Wennington and Dickey Simpkins or was it Will Purdue? There were several incarnations of the three-headed center for the Bulls. But can a three-headed monster work at second base for the Cubs this season? On the first full day of practice in Mesa, one of several questions in the minds of the Cubs Faithful is….who’s on second?

The Cubs are going to give Ronny Cedeno every opportunity to be the everyday shortstop this season. But the decision of who will start at second could have an affect on Cedeno as well. So who will it be….Neifi Perez, Todd Walker or Jerry Hairston Jr.?

Todd Walker offers the Cubs the best option on offense. Walker hit .305 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI’s last season with a .355 OBP and a .474 SLG. Walker is a very good hitter and gives the Cubs a good left-handed bat in the lineup. The Cubs have been shopping Walker all off-season, but why? His defense is why. The Cubs are looking to the Wrongside of Chicago to see how to win the World Series The Sox won with pitching and defense. And while Walker could knock the runs in, his defense does not keep the pitch counts low enough for the Cubs starting rotation to win ball games.

Neifi Perez gives the Cubs the best option on defense. Perez can still catch the ball….there is no doubt about it. Perez did fill in for the Cubs last season while Garciaparra and Ramirez were out with injuries. But at this point in his career, Neifi Perez is a very good bench player and that is all. Neifi hit .274 with 9 home runs and 54 RBI’s last season. He had only 18 walks in 572 at bats. His OBP was .298 and his SLG was .383. I agree with what Will Carroll said about Perez. If Neifi gets 250 at bats this season the Cubs are in trouble and if he gets 500 at bats, the Cubs are in last place.

Jerry Hairston, Jr. is the wild card in this equation. He has the tools to be a successful everyday second baseman in the Major Leagues. He has said he is healthy and is ready for the season. Hairston hit .261 with 4 home runs and 30 RBI’s last season. He had 31 walks in 380 at bats with a .336 OBP and a .368 SLG. Hairston will be 30 in May and could provide some consistency for the Cubs at second base. But why is he listed as an outfielder on the 40-man roster?

Dusty has to decide who will be at second this season. Ronny Cedeno must have a consistent partner up the middle. A new ‘battery-mate’ every other day could cause Cedeno to lose his job. Consistency builds confidence….and that’s one thing that has been missing in the Cubs Locker Room for the past two seasons.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein