After All, His Initials Are D.L.

I think Jayson Stark started this Player “A” jazz. I’ve stolen from him before, I’ll steal from him again.

Player “A” has three homers, 11 RBI, and a .295 average in 23 games (just twelve as a starter).

Player “B” has three homers, 15 RBI, and a .209 average in 24 games (but was up to .294 in his last five games).

And it’s good news that Player “B” won’t go on the disabled list, and will return to his team’s line-up this week, replacing Player “A”?

They are, of course, A) Micah Hoffpauir, and B) Derrek Lee. There may be 44 guys in this country not named Hoffpauir who think it would be worth the Cubs’ while to let Hoffpauir succeed D-Lee right now. I’m one of them. It’s tough to think in those terms of a man who slammed 46 homers just four seasons ago. But considering he’s produced only two full, healthy seasons, since (averaging 21 homers and 86 RBI in each) and with this largely untreated bulging disk in his neck, is not likely to make this a third full season, nor reach those production numbers, it’s time to face the fact that he’s no longer among the game’s elite sluggers.

He hit five homers after July 1st last year. He hit .258 “close and late.” He hit .205 against the Cards last year and .239 against the Brewers. As he slides into his mid 30’s you begin to look around and say, salary considerations included, which teams would happily trade their first baseman for him, straight up?

It can get late early out there at first base. The Cubs might have been serving themselves well to put D.L. on the D.L. for two weeks and see if Hoffpauir has the chops on a daily basis, that he seems to offer sporadically. It’s a damn tough thing to bench a richly-compensated player, and a good guy, and a veteran. But, especially without Aramis Ramirez in the line-up, the Cubs need more than the vague hope that their first baseman will be healthy enough to finish the year with 20 homers and 85 RBI. Hoffpauir may not be the solution – two weeks would’ve given Chicago a better ability to guess.

I just don’t think guessing that D-Lee is going to perform worse, not better, requires very much ability at all. 

 

12 Comments

Micah Hoffpauir certainly deserves a shot at 1st base. While he is still a way worse defensive first sacker than D-Lee is, even when his neck is bothering him, he is a talented hitter who has the potential to hit 25 HRs if he’s given full time duty. He’d be a good hitter in a lineup stacked as Theriot-Soriano-Bradley-Ramirez-Hoffpauir-Soto-Fukudome-Fontenot. If Ramirez isn’t in the lineup, you could plug Soriano in at the third spot and Bradley fourth.

Uhhh,,, make that 42 guys. And I love D-Lee. I love his defense, I love his leadership, I love the fact that he brings the average height of our infield to 5 foot 11.
But you are exactly right sir, Plug Mike Power in and see what the lad can do for a couple weeks. He’s earned the opportunity.

I guess it’s hard to thread that needle. I think the kid deserves a chance. You definitely want to treat a good vet of the game well, but putting him in there with an injury won’t do him any favors either.

I guess it’s hard to thread that needle. I think the kid deserves a chance. You definitely want to treat a good vet of the game well, but putting him in there with an injury won’t do him any favors either.

Perhaps Derek Lee should consider having titanium disk replacement surgery like Chris “Bionic Man” Duncan. It’s worked well for him as far as batting is concerned, too bad it’s done nothing to improve his fielding!
Cardinal Nation is still waiting for Chris Carpenter to get off and stay off the DL.

Hoffpauir may or may not be the answer for the Cubs, but it would have been nice for him to have a couple weeks to show what he can do day in and day out. I love Derrek Lee, his defense and leadership are excellent, but this batting slump since last July is frustrating at best. Yes, he started showing improvement the last few games, but there is still debate on how dependable he is in clutch situations. As a Cubs fan, it’s hard to see him come to the plate and have the first thought that pops into your head be “here’s an out.” Especially when you know how much of a threat he once was.

Facts are facts… he’s not getting younger, he’s dealing with nagging injuries and his best years are behind him. He’d still be hard to replace, but the Cubs really need to start looking ahead and at what options they have.

Don’t forget there’s a player by the name of Jake Fox who is hitting .388-12-34 for the Cubs … in Iowa. It would be nice to see some of the young players get a richly deserved chance to demonstrate their abilities in the majors.

Don’t forget there’s a player by the name of Jake Fox who is hitting .388-12-34 for the Cubs … in Iowa. It would be nice to see some of the young players get a richly deserved chance to demonstrate their abilities in the majors.

Hi Keith,
I agree with you 100%. Right now, Lou needs to put the most productive lineup on the field, and Micah seems to be essential to that. He’s a switch-hitter, hits for power, he’s not ailing from a nagging injury, all things that D-Lee is not.
After last season’s “DP D-Lee” (he hit into a league-leading number of double plays, if I’m not mistaken), a changing of the guard is needed. Sure, Micah isn’t young (he’s been in the Cubs farm system since ’02) but he can contribute, D-Lee’s ability to do so is clearly waning.
The Cubs need to move him while they can. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a guy who was the NL BA, hits and doubles leader in ’05, but he’s obviously not aging well.

Hoffpauir seemed to come through in the clutch – While we were cheering for them to beat the Mets (Milwaukee needed to stay ahead before the playoffs), I was thinking “Who IS this guy???” He was stellar. But he doesn’t look like that player. I wonder who the Cubs could bring in… (This is an aside) -As far as the pitching, I was really impressed with Randy Wells! He held us down in game one of the 3 game series. I often take bats for granted; though pitching is the center of a team, it is tough to just come out and say , “hhhwelll; look – we need to get ourselves situated with a hitter” (not the best Lou impersonation).

Hi, Keith:

Here’s a thought – surgery for D-Lee, then a platoon-type situation at first base between Derrek and Micah. I think it would be a shame to just give up on #25 altogether. There is a possibility that he could still be a productive first baseman (you’d be hard-pressed to replace that defense at first) if put in a platoon situation. Lou’s done it before – with mixed results, albeit – but it’s been done before.

Very well put. I completely agree with you. I love Dlee but I feel that right now Hoff is the answer. Derrek Lee just isn’t the player offensively that he once was. Maybe he’ll pick up but until then I would def keep Hoff at first. Stephaniehttp://steponme.mlblogs.com

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