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The Sammy Sosa trade hasn't been finalized, and so I am going to wait to express my (dis)pleasure until the final details come out. However, with the likely inclusion of Jerry Hairston Jr. and the rumored subsequent trade for Aubrey Huff, I wanted to take this opportunity to defend Jason Dubois.
You see, in quite a few of the scenarios that I see playing out, Dubois could end up on the short end of this trade. Unless the Cubs want another ticked off player, Hairston won't be playing much second base as long as Todd Walker is healthy. This leaves Hairston in one of the corner outfield spots, most likely in a tri-ploon situation with Todd Hollandsworth and Jason Dubois.
Of course, this is a bad situation. The Cubs need another bat and have several options. One of those options would be to sign Magglio Ordonez, but since the Tigers have reportedly offered him $55 million over 5 years, it doesn't look too likely. A second option would be Jeromy Burnitz. I've been reading for two years about the Cubs desire to acquire Burnitz, and have consistently maintained that adding Burnitz to the roster would be the equivalent of bringing in Candy Maldonado. So, lets nix idea number two before we even consider it... too late I guess.
Which leaves us with option #3, Aubrey Huff. This idea seems to be a reasonably great idea. Trade the minor league proceeds of the Sosa trade along with a few Cubs prospects to the Devil Rays for Aubrey Huff. Now, I like this idea... but as usual, the Devil is in the details .
If the Cubs bring in Huff, or another established Major Leaguer, while retaining Jerry Hairston Jr. (JHJ), that leaves Jason Dubois (according to this month's vineline, it is pronounced Jason Du-Boyce) out of the mix for a starting position.
To see why this is a bad idea? Lets turn to the statistics. Courtesy of The Baseball Cube
Next there is Aubrey Huff, stats courtesy of ESPN
And finally, Jerry Hairston Jr. stats courtesy of ESPN
What do we have here? Three guys, all capable of playing a corner outfield position. One of them, JHJ is a utility player who feels most at home at second base. He is 28 with about 5 years of service time and will make $1.8 million in 2005. The next, Aubrey Huff is also 28 and is under contract for the next two years. He will make $4.75 million in 2005 and $6.75 million in 2006. Finally, there is Dubois. Jason is 26, has 20 games of Major League experience and will earn whatever the Cubs decide to pay him for the next 3 years, followed by another 3 years of arbitration eligibility. At this point, Dubois is Cubs property until after the 2011 season. He will likely earn the league minimum in '05, which is around $300,000.
So Dubois is two years younger and six times cheaper than JHJ... and he is 15.8 times cheaper than Huff.
Now money doesn't matter unless you are talking about players of similar caliber, and I think we are. While Dubois' numbers are from minor league action, I think he will be able to maintain a .360 OBP and a .500 SLG. Huff's career numbers are a .350 OBP and a .490 SLG, while Hairston comes in with a .340/.370 breakdown. Moreover, Hairston's speed isn't all that significant. He has stolen 94 bases while being caught 39 times in his career (about 1 SB every 5.6 games). His 70% success rate is decent, but nothing to write home about.
The point of this post is to make Cubs fans stop and think for a second before willy-nilly deciding the other guy is better than our own home grown talent. Sure, Dubois is a rookie and will go through some difficult periods. He probably wouldn't equal the production of Huff this year, and might not match Hairston, but we can have him for six years on the cheap, and possibly get a great ballplayer out of this.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that it would be a real shame if one of the byproducts of the Sosa trade is that Dubois lost his chance to play for the Cubs for the next several years. However the outfield plays out this offseason, I just want to be assured that C-Pat and Dubois are penciled into the starting lineup on a regular basis.
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