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Japanese teams interested in Bryan LaHair if the Cubs aren’t

Sep 14, 2011, 3:47 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

Last week I wondered whether the Cubs would give Triple-A MVP Bryan LaHair a legitimate opportunity in the majors and the answer so far is yes, as the 28-year-old has played in nine games while batting .458 with six extra-base hits in 24 at-bats.

Of course, he’ll come back down to earth eventually and it remains to be seen if the Cubs have LaHair in their 2012 plans. If they don’t, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that he’ll have no problem finding work in Japan:

According to scouting sources, numerous Japanese teams have been scouting and are prepared to make offers to LaHair, if he becomes a free agent following the 2011 season. LaHair said he has had conversations with some representatives of Japanese baseball.

It may be a moot point, as the Cubs could retain LaHair by keeping him on the 40-man roster and still not decide to give him an extended shot in Chicago, but as Levine notes they did sell Micah Hoffpauir to a Japanese team last year for $200,000.

LaHair told Levine that he’s intrigued by the possibility of playing in Japan, in part because the money would be significantly better than at Triple-A, “but the dream is to be in the major leagues and this is where I want to be.” He doesn’t project as a star or anything, but hitting .338 with 38 homers at Triple-A should earn a guy a couple hundred at-bats to prove himself.

  1. aschwartz2011 - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    He went to St. Pete Junior College. With numbers like that I wouldn’t mind having him down in the Rays system on a reasonable contract. Could get a Pena (ala 2007- 29 year old Pena) type contract and a shot to prove himself. I doubt the Cubs let him go.

  2. Alex K - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    It wouldn’t hurt to give him a shot, but I wouldn’t expect him to turn into a star or even an everyday player. If he could provide a left-handed bench bat that can fill 1B and the outfield corners the Cubs should be happy with that.

  3. micker716 - Sep 14, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    We get Ichiro, they get LaHair (what’s up wirh that capital H ?). We’re even.

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