Could the Cubs still be interested in Kenny Lofton? A month ago two separate writers, Buster Olney and Jon Heyman, mentioned Lofton would make sense for the Cubs. Lou Piniella wanted a left-handed hitting centerfielder and Felix Pie was not progressing the way the Cubs wanted him to. Those rumors were quieted when the Cubs signed Jim Edmonds a few weeks back.
Reports have indicated Lou Piniella’s patience with the lack of production from Jim Edmonds could be running out. Piniella wants a left-handed bat in center to platoon with Reed Johnson in order to round out the lineup. Felix Pie is progressing in Triple-A but Jerry Crasnick mentioned in a report on ESPN.com Wednesday that Kenny Lofton “could be the next left-handed-hitting centerfielder du jour in Chicago,” if Jim Edmonds continues to falter. Kenny Lofton became a fan favorite in Chicago when he helped lead the Cubs into the playoffs in 2003. Lofton would be a fit with the Cubs but would he still be able to contribute at the age of 41? ….Lofton turns 41 on May 31st.
Lofton passed on offers from the Rays and the Reds in the off-season according to Crasnick and does not understand why he has not received a contract yet for this season.
“The thing that makes me frustrated is I did my job last year. I proved myself at 40 that I was better than a lot of guys who were 25. But I can’t get a job.”
Lofton hit .296 with a .367 OBP in 136 games last season with the Rangers and Indians. If the Cubs indeed want a left-handed option to platoon with Reed Johnson, Lofton could fit that role. Lofton hit .313 with a .386 OBP with all 7 of his home runs against right handed pitching last year.
For his career, Kenny Lofton has hit right-handers to the tune of a .304 average with a .375 OBP.
In 43 career games at Wrigley, Lofton hit 10 doubles, a triple and a home run with a .331/.408/.430/.839 line.
Lofton is not the defender nor the base stealer he once was but if Jim Edmonds is released and they determine Felix Pie is not an option….Kenny Lofton could be.