Mike Fontenot Will Be The Odd Man Out, Due To Lack Of Versatility.
We have heard all winter that Mike Fontenot will be platooning with Jeff Baker at second base this year. Fontenot was very successful as a part-time player in 2008 with a line of .305/.395/.514/.909. He hits left handed with a little pop and plays pretty good defense at second base. Upon getting the starting job last year after Mark Derosa was traded, Mike struggled mightily at the plate, to the tune of .236/.301/.377/.677 line. If he doesn't show this spring he can be a viable everyday option at second base, look for him to be cut or traded.
The reasoning here is simple, Jeff Baker has more value to the team, due to his ability to play 1b, 2b, 3b and even a little out field, Blanco has more versatility, and is a switch hitter and is the only back up SS. Sam Fuld, Tyler Colvin, and Brad Snyder all hit from the left side of the plate, and play all three outfield spots, and we need a backup center fielder/ defensive replacement and pinch runner all rolled into one. (Fuld will most likely be that guy). Soriano, Fukodome, Byrd, Lee, Ramirez, Soto, Hill, Theriot, Nady, are all locks to make the team. The Cubs want a left handed power hitting pinch hitter on the bench, who can play the field as well, Micah Hoffpauir, Bryan LaHair, Chad Tracy, Brad Snyder, and Tyler Colvin all fit that role, and all of them can play more than one position.
The cubs simply don't have room for Mike Fontenot. They also have great middle infield depth, with Andres Blanco, Jeff Baker, and Ryan Theriot on the major league roster. In the minors we have Bobby Scales, who is a switch hitter and plays multiple positions as well. Then we have SS Darwin Barney, and top prospect Starlin Castro who will get a long look at spring training, but will most likely start the year at AAA. Mike Fontenot's lack of versatility will be the thorn in his side, and I think he will be cut or traded by the end of spring training. Andres Blanco has been working a lot with Rudy Jaramillo the cubs new hitting coach and has become his new "pet project" according to Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter. Blanco could easily be the only back up on the major league roster for shortstop and second base.
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