90 Days In The Hole?

The Rumors Surrounding a Possible Replacement for Derrek Lee

As soon as Derrek Lee was diagnosed with a fractured distal radius and a fractured distal ulna last Thursday, the rumors started flying with names the Cubs were going to replace him with. Kevin Kennedy during The Show on Monday afternoon said he did not expect to see Derrek Lee back on the field for at least 90 games….that would put the Cubs at game 104 of 162….more than half the season. There have been several names tossed out by various media sources and the question remains….should the Cubs stand firm or make a move to improve the offense until Lee returns?

The name I have heard most frequently is Tony Clark. The switch-hitting first baseman is currently under contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks with a no-trade clause and signed a 2-year extension in 2005 worth around $2 million dollars. Clark is only hitting .226 on the season with 1 home run and 8 RBI’s, his OBP is .368 and his SLG is .419, but he did hit .304/.366/.636 with 30 home runs and 87 RBI’s last season. Clark is an average first baseman defensively and his lifetime numbers are .267/.343/.494. If the Cubs do trade for Tony Clark, where does he play when Derrek Lee returns?

Shea Hillenbrand was a name thrown out by Steve Phillips during Baseball Tonight on Sunday. Hillenbrand is apparently not happy with his playing time after the Blue Jays acquired Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay over the winter. Hillenbrand would give Dusty a good option at first base and would provide a good right handed bat off the bench and depth at third base when Derrek Lee returns. Hillenbrand is hitting .246 on the season with a .286 OBP and a .333 SLG with 1 home run and 5 RBI’s. Last season Hillenbrand split time at first base (67 games) and third base (54 games) and hit .291 with 18 home runs and 82 RBI’s, his OBP was .343 and his SLG was .449….his career numbers are .288/.326/.446. Hillenbrand is scheduled to make $5.8 million this season through arbitration.

Steve Phillips also through out Kevin Millar of the Baltimore Orioles and I have also heard rumblings about J.T. Snow and of all the names….Hee-Seop Choi. First off, Choi is on the DL and how does the shirt read….been there…. Choi is nothing but a bad rumor and should be ignored. Mike Sweeney’s name is also out there, but he is having a bad season as well (.173) and has played his entire career in the American League and at first base, like Tony Clark….where does he play when Lee returns?

J.T. Snow signed with the Red Sox during the off-season and while his defense would help the Cubs, if it is offense the Cubs need….Snow is not the answer. Snow is hitting only .125 on the season for the Red Sox and other than 2004, Snow has never been an offensive threat. Snow signed a one-year contract with the Red Sox worth $2 million dollars….but there is a Dusty connection with Snow, so anything is possible and Snow might be willing to accept a trade to the Cubs to play for Dusty again.

So what should the Cubs do? These are the rumors I am hearing and reading, but the Cubs seem to be willing to hold off making any moves in the near future. The organization is weak at the first base position with the injury to Brian Dopirak a couple of weeks back and Brandon Sing is struggling at Iowa, hitting only .167 with 1 home run and 4 RBI’s. Any player the Cubs would try to trade for could cost them in more than one way.

Sometimes it is the trade a team does not make that makes the biggest difference.

Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth