Jan 18, 2010, 12:50 PM EDT
Speaking at the annual Cubs convention over the weekend, manager Lou Piniella revealed that new center fielder Marlon Byrd has been penciled into the No. 5 spot in the batting order and Alfonso Soriano will remain in the No. 6 spot that he filled during the second half of last season.
Soriano spent his first two-and-a-half seasons with the Cubs batting almost exclusively leadoff, but was never a particularly good fit there. Not only is he a high-strikeout free-swinger with a sub par .328 career on-base percentage, batting atop the lineup limited his RBI chances and often wasted Soriano’s power. He’s a better fit in the sixth spot, but my guess is that he’ll eventually end up hitting fifth behind Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez while Byrd slides down in the order.
Signed to a three-year, $15 million deal last month, Byrd has hit fifth in 18 percent of his career starts and saw plenty of action there for the Rangers. However, in three years with Texas he hit a modest .281/.328/.414 away from the Rangers’ offense-boosting home ballpark and prior to 2009 his career-high was 10 homers. Signing the 32-year-old Byrd to a three-year deal with the expectation that he’ll be a good defensive center fielder and productive No. 5 hitter for the life of the contract is going to leave the Cubs disappointed.
- Matt Cain is going to pay a visit to Dr. Andrews 1
- The Nationals and Orioles dispute over TV money is about to explode 45
- The Red Sox are expected to deal Jon Lester and the Pirates are a “dark horse” 24
- And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights 48
- VIDEO: Derek Jeter passes Carl Yastrzemski for seventh on all-time hits list 68
- Ray Rice is awful, but let’s not pretend baseball has a great record on domestic violence 91
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 50
- Mariners’ interest in Matt Kemp is “very real” 29
- Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams (201)
- Verducci: baseball should think about an “illegal defense” rule to combat shifts (165)
- “Caucasians” t-shirts are hot sellers on Canadian Indian reservations (150)
- Yankees acquire Chase Headley from Padres (108)
- Must-click link: sexual depravity — and possibly rape — in the minor leagues (99)