There was a welcome sight at US Cellular Field on Friday, and it wasn't just Lou standing up to Milton Bradley's temper. Aramis Ramirez was taking batting practice again. Lou described this as the final stretch in getting the motor of the Cubs offence back.
He will go out on a three or four game rehab assignment, and should be back a week before the all star game. So while that is fantastic news, that I'm sure will be covered in great detail here at BR by other writers, it got me thinking about another aspect of the Cubs line-up.
What happens to the flavour of the month, Jake Fox?
Initially there was hesitation in putting Fox out at third base. His fielding is not pretty, but he gets the job done. He makes the throws, he makes the catches that you need him to make.
Sure he is never going to win a gold glove, but when you are swinging the bat as well as Jake Fox is, then you don't need to flash the leather all over the diamond. However, the question that plagued me was, in a lineup that struggles offensively, how can you keep a bat like Jake Fox out of the lineup?
As it stands today (June 27), Jake Fox has a .395 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 1.080 OPS in just 17 games played. On the other hand as of today Milton Bradley has a .237 with 5 HR and 16 RBI and a .734 OPS in 56 games.
So if we think about this, we have almost the same production from Fox in 17 games as we do from Milton in 56. How can we really defend putting him in the lineup instead of Fox?
It is no secret that Lou is very fond of Alfonso Soriano, and although his merits as a leadoff hitter are widely debated, he does gets runs across the plate. Left field is tied up, because Soriano can carry this team on his back, he has proved that.
A-Ram is our best hitter, our most clutch hitter, and a good fielding third baseman. Who thought we would be saying that when he came over from Pittsburgh and was booting balls left, right and centre? Derek Lee is one of the best defensive first baseman in the game, and he happens to be our hottest hitter, his position is safe.
So Fox only has one position that he can fill if he wants to be a everyday player, and that's as a right fielder.
Milton has showed little to suggest that he should be the automatic choice, perhaps his contract dictates that his name must be pencilled into the lineup, but if we continue to lose games, and the pressure begins to mount, how long can Lou hold his name in that lineup?
So for now once our American League expedition is completed and the DH is no more, Fox will get his spot starts at third until A-Ram gets back, and then move to bench for PH duty.
I have heard many people say that we could trade him, but I truly believe that he holds more value as a PH for us, than as a trading chip. He will continue to be the right-handed power from the bench, Hoffpauir the left handed power, however if Milton continues to struggle, and Fox continues to produce, the best player shall play, and so he should.