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Beyond the Ivy - A Cubs Rooftop Partner

In Defense of Jason Dubois

Saturday, January 29, 2005

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

Year Team Lg. Ag Lvl G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO Avg OBP SLG OPS
2001 Lansing Midw 22 A 118 443 76 131 28 24 92 46 120 0.296 --- 0.562 ---
2002 Daytona FSL 23 A 99 361 64 116 25 20 85 57 95 0.321 0.422 0.562 .984
2003 West Tennessee Sou 24 AA 130 443 57 119 31 15 73 57 118 0.269 0.367 0.458 .825
2004 Iowa PCL 25 AAA 109 386 76 122 26 31 99 41 97 0.316 0.389 0.630 1.019
2004 Chicago Cubs NL 25 MLB 20 23 2 5 0 1 5 1 7 0.217 0.240 0.435 .675

Next there is Aubrey Huff, stats courtesy of ESPN

Season Team Age G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2000 TB 23 39 122 12 35 7 4 14 5 18 0.287 0.318 0.443 0.761
2001 TB 24 111 411 42 102 25 8 45 23 72 0.248 0.288 0.372 0.66
2002 TB 25 113 454 67 142 25 23 59 37 55 0.313 0.364 0.52 0.884
2003 TB 26 162 636 91 198 47 34 107 53 80 0.311 0.367 0.555 0.922
2004 TB 27 157 600 92 178 27 29 104 56 74 0.297 0.36 0.493 0.853
Total -- 28 582 2223 304 655 131 98 329 174 299 0.295 0.348 0.491 0.839

And finally, Jerry Hairston Jr. stats courtesy of ESPN

Season Team Age G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
1998 Bal 22 6 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
1999 Bal 23 50 175 26 47 12 4 17 11 24 9 4 0.269 0.323 0.417 0.74
2000 Bal 24 49 180 27 46 5 5 19 21 22 8 5 0.256 0.353 0.367 0.72
2001 Bal 25 159 532 63 124 25 8 47 44 73 29 11 0.233 0.305 0.344 0.649
2002 Bal 26 122 426 55 114 25 5 32 34 55 21 6 0.268 0.329 0.376 0.705
2003 Bal 27 58 218 25 59 12 2 21 23 25 14 5 0.271 0.353 0.372 0.725
2004 Bal 28 86 287 43 87 19 2 24 29 29 13 8 0.303 0.378 0.397 0.775
Total --   530 1825 241 477 98 26 160 162 229 94 39 0.261 0.334 0.371 0.705

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.

Posted by Byron at January 29, 2005 1:36 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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9 Comments

I like Dubois, I'd just prefer to see some more playing time for Hollandsworth.

If NOTHING works out and Sammy is still shipped out, you can have Dubois as your starting RIGHT fielder instead of in left.

Personally, I don't see why Hairston is included in this deal. I don't like the sound of this deal AT ALL. I think down the line, someone is getting screwed. It's probably the fans, as always, but maybe my pessimistic side is showing.

Too risky of a proposition in my opinion - the window of opportunity with this caliber pitching staff won't remain open forever and I, for one, don't want to take unnecessary risks with unproven rooks. Yes Dubois is the cheapest option - but pennants aren't usually won on the cheap. And besides, at least Hairston has proven himself at the big league level. In any event - if the Cubs are relying on an outfield of Patterson, Hollandsworth/Dubois, and Hairston (or however you want to work those three) - they are in *big* trouble.

You can't be serious. You need two outfielders, one a power guy, one a leadoff man. JHJ had an OBP close to .380 and Huff has a *major league* OPS of over .850.

You don't want these guys because they cost more than DuBois who you *think* can be good? The Cubs just saved over $13 million by trading Sammy. The money isn't an issue and the Cubs are 97 years removed from winning.

What's next. DuBois sucks for part of the year and costs the Cubs 3 games in the standings. They miss the playoffs again. Next year, Wood is out with a bad back and Zambrano's salary goes up to $6mm.

They'll have blown another year.

Take the proven players. Jeez.

Chuck, you are absolutely right.

These are the Cubs, those lovable losers. We watch and listen to our hopes being raised in wins and our dreams being smashed with losses. We're used to it, so it doesn't bug us, we just roll our eyes and say, "There's always next year."

I WANT NEXT YEAR NOW!!

I like finding out slowly if Dubois has it or not. We don't need to throw him in between Patterson and Hollandsworth as a starter. With Lee going to Milwaukee, that woul probably give the Cubs the least offensively productive outfield in the NL Central.

I want next year now too! But I don't want an outfield of Hairston Jr, Patterson, and a platoon of Hollandsworth and Dubois. This is not a championship outfield.

What I would like is to see Hairston sent to Tampa in this supposed deal.

I just think that Dubois will excel as a starter for this team.

What I want to avoid is what the Marlins do. They win one year and then suck for the next few. I want a dynasty like the Braves and Yankees. You do that by building from within.

>

What planet are you on? The Marlins have won as many World Series as the Cubs. In one tenth the time. And if you think the Yankees and Braves have won from within, you don't look at who the key players on those teams are. Each team has a few home grown guys, but many are free agents / trade acquired players.

Byron, you have the advantage of being young and thinking you can be patient. Don't waste that advantage by being stupid.

Regarding a possible trade for Huff.
IF you think by trading for Aubrey Huff is a lose situation for Dubois than you must have lost your mind. Dubois has proven nothing for the Cubs at the pro level he had 23 at bats and 7 K's and only one homer. Huff has proved he could hit over .300 and have 30 homerun seasons playing for a bad team and no fan support and still put up allstar numbers. You add him in between Aramis and Lee you end up with a right, left and right batter situation. Cubs need a Lefty with power and Huff is your answer. With him between them 2 he could have 40 hrs in Wrigleyville So what do you do you mix Dubois in left with Hairston. and have Todd off the bench to pinch hit. Now you are deep on the bench until Dubois proves it this year he can be a everyday player. and to compare Huff to Hairston is pretty sad. Huff is a power hitter Hairston jr isn't.Hairston can fill in for Walker and in left or right to give guys breaks. And Huff could play 3rd or first or right field. Cubs need a power hitter to replace Sosa and Huff is the best bet. You can go for Huff or get a bust in Maggs. My choice is Huff.

I had the opportunity to play with Jason in High School ball and it was apparent back then that he had the talent and wherewithal to make it to the bigs as he has proven. He has the phyisical attributes to be a very powerful force in the Cubs lineup, and perhaps a diamond in the rough. He does not possess the speed of a Sammy Sosa, nor the fielding abilities of a great defensive player, however two key characteristics you should keep an eye on with Jason are:

1) His Arm - Uncontrolled but very very powerful.
2) His Bat - He is a monster when he wants to be, and also disciplined.

He is worth a starting position, perhaps not what the Cubs are looking for right now, but it would be shortsighted to overlook an opportunity. He can and will produce. The problem with getting a cheap player is that you have to take the risk, if not, that player is no longer cheap, because they have proven themselves and will command a much higher salary.

What is there to lose in giving him a chance? A penant is not won or lost by a single individual, but rather a team. If Jason provides at his position, money or experience should not be the primary driving factors.

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