Monday, March 7, 2011

Who will be the Cubs' fifth outfielder in 2011?

Starting outfield: Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Tyler Colvin/Kosuke Fukudome

Bench: Tyler Colvin/Kosuke Fukudome

Spots available: 1

Possible fifth outfielder: Reed Johnson, Brett Jackson, James Adduci, Lou Montanez, Fernando Perez, Brad Snyder, Bryan LaHair

Early prediction: All of them! No, never mind, I don't think Quade would do that. He's so lame. I'm actually going to go with former-Cub-and-now-Cub-again Reed Johnson.

Johnson had a bad year with the Dodgers, putting up .262/.291/.366. BUT, he hit .301 against lefties and has a .312 career average against southpaws, which could be key since neither Colvin nor Fukudome could hit a lefty if he walked up to the mound and swung at the ball while it was still in the pitcher's hand. And as we saw when he was with the Cubs, he's a strong defender. (I couldn't find video of the ridiculous catch he made in Washington, which is pictured above, but here's his grand slam-saving catch against Prince Fielder.)

Jackson, of course, was the team's #1 draft pick in '09, but probably isn't quite ready yet. And Brad Snyder was called up last September but hit just .185. He has played approximately 700,000 minor league games. (Actually 845.)

A quick comment on the right field situation as well: there's definitely a spring training battle at hand given that Colvin and Fukudome are both lefties, meaning a strict platoon won't work. Fukudome is in the final year of his four-year deal and has yet to do anything of note after about May 15 of any season. Colvin posted a low .316 OBP last year but showed significant pop with 20 HR in just 358 at-bats (which translates to about 27 in a full season of work). Colvin could also spell both Byrd and Soriano, as he did last year. Complicating matters is the painful and pathetic fact that Quade might view Fukudome as the team's best leadoff option.


  1. I must've missed the Reed Johnson news - when did he come back?

  2. They signed him back in January to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. So far he's 3-for-15 with three singles.