Tag: Bryan LaHair

Bryan LaHair

Japanese team buys Bryan LaHair from Cubs for $950,000, signs LaHair to $4.5 million deal


When the Cubs designated Bryan LaHair for assignment earlier this week it was reportedly because they were working on a deal to send the first baseman to Japan and now we have the details of that agreement.

According to ESPN Chicago he’ll get a two-year, $4.5 million contract to join the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and the Cubs will get $950,000 in cash to part with LaHair.

LaHair slumped horribly after making the All-Star team as a 29-year-old rookie, but he’s still a .260 hitter with 21 homers and a .764 OPS in 195 total big-league games and has consistently crushed Triple-A pitching for years.

I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t put up huge numbers in Japan and, who knows, maybe in a couple years another MLB team will feel like taking a flier on him as a cheap bench bat or platoon starter.

Cubs designate Bryan LaHair for assignment

bryan lahair getty

Bryan LaHair batted .286/.364/.519 with 14 home runs over his first 74 games this season for the Cubs and was named to the NL All-Star team in early July.

Four months later, he’s out of the major leagues.

According to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, the Cubs designated LaHair for assignment on Tuesday night so that he can pursue an opportunity in Japan. He hasn’t signed with an NPB team yet, but indications are that he will at some point in the near future.

LaHair was selected by the Mariners in the 39th round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft, then toiled away in the minor leagues for several seasons before finally being granted everyday playing time this past summer in Chicago. That steady climb through baseball’s professional ranks will now shift overseas, where LaHair’s raw power could make him a fan favorite.

Bryan LaHair has gone from All-Star to out of Cubs’ plans

Bryan LaHair

One side effect of Anthony Rizzo’s emergence for the Cubs is that Bryan LaHair has fallen completely out of the team’s plans just months after being named an All-Star.

LaHair was a great story in the first half, finally getting his big chance at age 29 after a decade in the minors and hitting .286 with 14 homers and an .883 OPS to represent the Cubs in the All-Star game.

However, he’d already begun slumping by then and after initially trying LaHair in the outfield once Rizzo arrived the Cubs have basically given him a permanent spot on the bench. LaHair has a grand total of 101 plate appearances in the second half and has hit just .187. Dating back even further, since hitting .384 with a 1.243 OPS through May 10 he’s hit just .212 with a .612 OPS in 88 games.

When asked yesterday about LaHair’s status, manager Dale Sveum said:

I think for his sake he needs to go play winter ball again and get those at-bats he missed out on and be ready for spring training just like he was this year. … Yeah, that [securing a big role with the Cubs will be difficult] goes unsaid really. Rizzo is healthy and playing time will be tough to find.

Obviously the Cubs will try to get something for LaHair this offseason, but much like we saw with Evan Meek and the Pirates yesterday the “former All-Star” label isn’t exactly guaranteed to create trade interest when the selection was iffy in the first place.

Bryan LaHair’s roller coaster season results in a stint on the bench

Bryan LaHair

Cubs first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair’s season has gone from an All-Star berth to the bench:

The Cubs’ feel-good story of the season isn’t feeling so good these days.

LaHair is back to staring at another set of long odds after being told this week he’ll be a bench player for the rest of the season — barring an injury or a trade of Alfonso Soriano — to make room for top prospect Brett Jackson to play every day in the outfield.

Even though this is his first big league season, LaHair is 29, so it’s not like he’s got some huge improvement in the offing or that he’ll be a  big part of the next good Cubs team.  And while the season started in rip-roaring fashion for him — he hit .390 with five homers and 14 RBI in April — since then his monthly OPSeseseses have been .792, .686 and .517. He’s 3 for 14 with three doubles in August, but no, no one is banking on greatness at this point.

Just another reminder that the season, she is long, and over the course of a hundred or more games, true talent levels are almost reflected in the numbers.

So who’s available at the trade deadline?

Justin Upton

The non-waiver trade deadline is coming. July 31, as usual. After a slow beginning to crazy season due to so many teams being in contention or erroneously believing so, the rumblings are getting louder. It’s great fun, yes?

Over the next couple of weeks, we will obviously be writing individual posts for each of the trades that go down and a lot of the rumors that swirl. We’ll also, once trades start happening, put up a trade tracker so you can keep all the deals straight. But for now, let’s see if we can’t get a list of guys who are or who may be on the market.

This is a pretty expansive list, I think, as it includes guys like Josh Willingham who, just a few minutes ago, we noted probably won’t be traded. And it also includes guys — especially some pitchers — that no one may want. It further includes guys who haven’t had any trade heat around them but, man, they play for a team going nowhere, so maybe they SHOULD be dealt. Ergo, lots of Astros and Padres. It also includes a lot of Athletics because, in contention or not, the A’s like to deal people at the deadline.  This isn’t merely list of names being tossed around actively. It’s more akin to a list of possible dudes your team may reasonably inquire about and/or want.

Point is, never say never. Teams don’t do dumb things at the rate they did ten years ago, but it’s not impossible to think that someone would offer the Twins a ridiculous return for Willingham, making them change their mind. Or that someone may think that a Safeco-fueled half season by Kevin Millwood has rendered him not-Kevin Millwood.

Anyway, below is who we reckon to be on the market at the moment. If we missed some — and I’m assuming we did — let us know. Keeping track of this stuff is like herding cats, so the more herders the better.

Available bats:

Justin Upton
Carlos Quentin
Shane Victorino
Justin Morneau
Josh Willingham
Denard Span
Michael Cuddyer
Alfonso Soriano
Bryan LaHair
Chase Headley
Adam Lind
Mark Kotsay
Marco Scutaro
Chris Johnson
Chris Denorfia
Seth Smith
Jonny Gomes
Coco Crisp

Available arms:

Cole Hamels
Zack Greinke
Wandy Rodriguez
Matt Garza
Ryan Dempster
Francisco Liriano
Edinson Volquez
Brandon McCarthy
Bartolo Colon
Kevin Millwood
Huston Street
Jonathan Broxton
Rafael Betancourt
Francisco Rodriguez
Matt Capps
Grant Balfour
Bret Myers
Brandon Lyon

So, who did we miss? And who shouldn’t be here? Note: If you name someone who wasn’t originally on the list and should be, I will update it here.