Bryan LaHair an All-Star, but that doesn’t mean he’s good fit for Cubs
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2012 10:40PM
All-Star Bryan LaHair has heard the trade rumors, but he’s committed to the Cubs until he hears it ‘‘from the horse’s mouth.’’ | Getty Images
Updated: August 12, 2012 6:42AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Congratulations were in order for Bryan LaHair.
Leave it to the Cubs to be the first organization in recent All-Star Game memory to send a rookie to the midsummer classic, only to have him answering questions about
being the subject of trade rumors.
That’s exactly the situation LaHair was in for the last couple of days. He was shaking hands with All-Star teammates one moment, then being reminded by the media this game is a business the next.
‘‘I’ve heard [the rumors],’’ LaHair said. ‘‘But until I hear it from the horse’s mouth, I’m a Chicago Cub, and I’m trying to develop with the team, develop chemistry with the team. I’m happy with where I’m at.’’
That might be the case, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fit.
LaHair is 29, and that might mean more to the Cubs than his home-run and RBI totals right now. President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer came to the organization with a definite plan. The focal point of that is building a core of youngsters that will be ready to compete at a high level in a few years.
If they think that can be accomplished in two seasons, maybe LaHair has some staying power. But if they think it might take four years or longer, then LaHair is nothing more than an asset to them — an asset that has more value being shipped elsewhere for younger talent.
‘‘I definitely think we’re a lot closer than people think,’’ LaHair said. ‘‘I don’t think we’re that far off. There’s obviously a few pieces we may need. I don’t know what those pieces are, I don’t know how they want to do it, but we have underachieved a little bit so far at this point.
‘‘But we all know who is in charge, and we’re all on board. We work 100 percent, pull for each other, and those types of things usually lead to winning teams. It’s a matter of time before they establish a core team.’’
At the same time, LaHair knows his age might be a problem in the eyes of the organization.
‘‘I’m not sure [if I fit], but the thing I’ve learned about the organization — Theo and Jed and those guys — is they’re straight shooters. They flat-out tell you how it is. If I felt that I would be traded, they would probably talk to me about it. The only talk I hear about it is outside [the organization].’’
The strongest trade rumors about the Cubs floating around Kansas City involve right-handers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. There has been no talk about Alfonso Soriano, no mention of Starlin Castro, not a whisper about LaHair. Then again, it is still almost three weeks until the trade deadline.
So will LaHair ask Epstein or Hoyer where he stands?
‘‘I haven’t heard or even read a quote from them, other than they’re listening to trades,’’ LaHair said. ‘‘They’re probably listening to trades on everybody; every GM in the world will at least listen. Whether or not they actually make a trade is another thing. Until that day, I’m part of this organization.’’