I promise the next time I feel something isn't going my way I'm going to remember Bryan LaHair and subsequently realize that my situation isn't a big deal. The 29-year old LaHair found himself bumped from his starting position in right field thanks to the arrival of prospect Brett Jackson. While that's not really a rare occurrence to have an everyday player usurped by an up-and-comer, it was the second time this season that it has happened to LaHair. Lest we forget, LaHair was the Cubs' first baseman who was moved to the outfield after the much-anticipated arrival of Anthony Rizzo. Good attitude or not, that has to be frustrating.
The tough circumstance with LaHair is that he is a player that has "paid his dues" in the minors. Here is a guy who had been in the minors since 2003, and toiled away at Triple-A since 2006; emerging briefly in 2008 for a major league stint with the Seattle Mariners. Now at 29, LaHair only has so much more time to make an impression stick with a team.
The unfortunate thing is that LaHair did make an impression at the major league level --holding on to a .300 average as late as June 14th and being selected to the All Star game. Sadly, LaHair has been in a substantial slump. His average has slipped to .266, and only has 15 hits since the beginning of July. There is little doubt that LaHair's lengthy slump made the decision to allow Jackson to take control of the outfield spot a much easier one, but it's still too bad.
Honestly, I think if LaHair would have continued putting up numbers like he did in the first few months, the Cubs would have traded him. I'm sure teams' interest was derailed when they began to see those numbers decline at a steady rate over a lengthy period of time. Because that decline wasn't all together unexpected, I think we forget just how good LaHair was early on. This is a player who was hitting .390 a month into the season. No one expected him to maintain numbers that high, but he was quite an impressive addition the first few months.
LaHair will still get some starts, but I would think the arrival of Jackson more or less shuts down LaHair as any kind of everyday player for the Chicago Cubs. It's unfortunate, but it's just how the game works.
I hope LaHair finds a chance with a team to put together a nice, albeit shortened, major league career. He's certainly earned the opportunity.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.