Bryan LaHair was called up from Triple-A after rosters expanded on September 1 and has gone 3-for-8 with a double through his first two starts, but will the Cubs give an extended opportunity to the 29-year-old Pacific Coast League MVP?
LaHair started in left field Sunday and at first base yesterday, but with Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena entrenched at those positions his playing time down the stretch figures to be sporadic. However, with Pena an impending free agent the Cubs could decide to sit him in favor of LaHair, who hit .331 with 38 homers and 38 doubles in 129 games at Triple-A and would be a much cheaper alternative for 2012.
Pena turned down a trade to the Yankees and has said he wants to re-sign with the Cubs, but do they want him back for this season’s $10 million salary or would turning to LaHair for about $350,000 make more sense?
Huge numbers in the hitter-friendly PCL from a 29-year-old career minor leaguer hardly guarantees that LaHair would be a productive regular in the majors, but he’s batted .297 with an .897 OPS in 653 career games at Triple-A and … well, the Cubs could certainly use that $10 million to address some other issues.
According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune “the organization appears to be leaning toward” re-signing Pena, in which case LaHair will probably be headed back to Triple-A for the sixth straight season.