Jim Hendry reportedly spent the off-season trying to add a right-handed option that could platoon in center with Felix Pie. Rumors suggested Hendry was also trying to provide Lou Piniella with a solid defender that could play all three outfield spots. After attempts to land several players via the trade route, Reed Johnson signed with the Cubs right after the Toronto Blue Jays released in the third week of March. Felix Pie, on the other hand, has been the Cubs top prospect for the past several years. Pie is a proven winner and has excelled at every level, while being younger than most of his peers. Pie has shown flashes of how good he can be, but he has yet to put it all together at the big league level….as they say. Pie had a very good spring and clearly earned his roster spot.
Over the first 8 games of the young season, Reed Johnson has received a lot of playing time while Felix Pie, of late, has been used as a defensive replacement. Pie came through with the game winning hit on Wednesday night and maybe, just maybe it will get him going in the right direction. Pie needs to cut down on his big swing as Bob Brenly pointed out during the telecast.
So, should Lou stay with Johnson or be patient with Pie?
Reed Johnson has been a nice addition at the plate to a team with more free swingers than disciplined hitters. Johnson has shown he will do whatever it takes to get on base….whether it’s via a walk or getting hit by a pitch.
In 5 games, 16 at bats, Reed Johnson has 6 hits (a double) with 3 RBI’s, 2 runs scored, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts and 7 total bases…. .375/.474/.438
Felix Pie is the future of this team, or at least he has been. When the Cubs offense started so slowly against the Brewers, Piniella inserted Johnson in the 2-hole and the Cubs have won 5 of the last 6 games.
Felix Pie has played in 7 of the Cubs 8 games. He has 4 hits in 20 at bats without an extra base hit, 4 total bases and 2 RBI’s to go along with 5 strikeouts, no walks and 2 stolen bases…. .200/.238/.200.
So while most of the Faithful have debated if Ronny Cedeno or Ryan Theriot should start at short, maybe the discussion, for now, should be about Lou Piniella’s immediate plans in center.
Should it be Johnson or Pie starting in center? Numbers usually do not lie, but maybe in this case they do.