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Friday, May 30, 2008

Trade Winds: Jason Bay

I had a thought this morning on the way into work. It's a thought I've had before, but not since the Cubs acquired Alfonso Soriano. The Cubs have been making noise about going after a left-handed power bat, but there really isn't a whole lot available. What if they went within the division and went after Jason Bay? I know they already have a left fielder, but Bay seems to be back to his top form after his production dropped off the last year or so, probably due to the knee injury he was battling. True to his character, he refused to blame the injury for his issues, but healthy now, he's tearing it up once again. The way I see it, the Cubs have a couple options if they were to get Bay. One, they could see how he does in right field, moving Fukudome to center. Two, they could try Bay in center (which I believe he has played before), and Three, they could move Soriano back to second base and continue to play Reed Johnson and Fukudome where they are now.

I actually find option three somewhat intriguing. I don't know if Soriano can still play second, but I don't think he could be any worse a second baseman then he is an outfielder. By moving Sori to second, Mark DeRosa returns to the uber-utility role he excels at. Bay is an improvement over Sori in left, although not like a Gold Glove type improvement. I know Bay is right-handed, but I think he would offer great protection to Aramis in the Cubs lineup, which could look like this:


On any given day, DeRosa could sub for just about any of these guys. I know that's a big block of righties in there, but if the real Jason Bay is back and he brought his bat to the Cubs, this is a pretty sweet lineup. The Cubs would have control of Bay through 09, so it would be more than just a one year rent-a-player deal.

As for what the Pirates might ask in return, I would think Matt Murton would be the obvious first choice. He would replace Bay in the field and at the plate. I'm sure the Pirates would also want pitching as well, which the Cubs have. I'm not sure they'd be willing to trade too much pitching to acquire Bay, even if he's remotely on the radar.

Personally, I like this idea, just because I've liked Bay ever since he was traded to Pittsburgh. Every time we play Pittsburgh, I hate seeing him come to the plate, and have wanted him in blue pinstripes for some time. Plus he owns Carlos Zambrano, has ever since he was a rookie and there aren't that many guys who can say that. Realistically, I don't think this trade would ever happen, as Dave Littlefield is no longer in Pittsburgh and getting Bay would require too much shifting of the Cubs current field positioning. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Plus he's right-handed and the Cubs seem determined to get a left-handed bat, even if they have to settle for a mediocre one. I also think the price for Bay will be pretty high, especially if he continues to hit like he has so far. Still, it's always fun to speculate and I'd dig it if the Cubs could snag one of my favorite non-Cub players in the game.

BallHype: hype it up!

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