I'm looking at Lahair and wondering, why didn't he get a shot in Seattle? He had a nice season in 2006 splitting time between AA and AAA. The Mariners had Richie Sexton at first and he had an OK 2006, but 07 he slumped badly (84 OPS+) and the other ML 1B they had was Ben Broussard (96 OPS+). Lahair didn't post great numbers in AAA that year, but surely it would've been worth giving the then 24 year old a shot over two aging veterans.
In 2008 the Mariners trot Sexton out at first again (87 OPS+) and the even crappier Miguel Cario (75 OPS+). Lahair got a taste of ML ball and didn't tear things up, but he was better than Cario and not much worse than Sexton, who was making a lot more money. Then 2009 the Mariners got Russell Branyan, who had a nice season for them (130 OPS+). Then he comes over to the Cubs and is blocked by Derrick Lee.
Normally I'd discount a 28 year old "prospect" with minimal ML experience, but was he just blocked by the expensive Sexton, the effective Branyan, and the expensive/established Lee all these years? I don't see him as an all-star or a future savior of the club, but he might be able to deliver Pena-esque production for a fraction of the cost. If we don't sign Pujols or Fielder (which is probably not going to happen), then I think Lahair deserves a shot to win a starting job. Frankly I don't expect the club to compete next year, so why not give him a shot and see if he can be a serviceable ML first baseman for a minimal cost?
I don't see any upside in trading him to Japan and there is no downside to keeping him, even if he doesn't work out, so I'd say hang on to him and see what he can do in 2012.
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