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Japanese team buys Bryan LaHair from Cubs for $950,000, signs LaHair to $4.5 million deal

Nov 22, 2012, 11:25 AM EDT

Bryan LaHair AP

When the Cubs designated Bryan LaHair for assignment earlier this week it was reportedly because they were working on a deal to send the first baseman to Japan and now we have the details of that agreement.

According to ESPN Chicago he’ll get a two-year, $4.5 million contract to join the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and the Cubs will get $950,000 in cash to part with LaHair.

LaHair slumped horribly after making the All-Star team as a 29-year-old rookie, but he’s still a .260 hitter with 21 homers and a .764 OPS in 195 total big-league games and has consistently crushed Triple-A pitching for years.

I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t put up huge numbers in Japan and, who knows, maybe in a couple years another MLB team will feel like taking a flier on him as a cheap bench bat or platoon starter.

  1. Gordon - Nov 22, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    How does a player get traded to Japan? Doesn’t he have to sign off on this deal?

    • biasedhomer - Nov 22, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      He did sign a deal with that team. It’s not like he would get $4.5M in the MLB. He’s pretty much set for life now.

      • dcfan4life - Nov 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        Set for life, hardly. $4.5 Million is easy for pro athletes to spend. Not only that, he is in the most expensive country in the world now in Japan. Even if he is excellent at saving his money id expect that $4.5 million will feel a lot more like $2 million after taxes and all the high priced necessities and expenses.

    • dodger88 - Nov 22, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      The Cubs simply traded his rights, most likely after LaHair expressed interest in going to Japan. If for some reason he did not want to go, he wouldn’t have to.

  2. cur68 - Nov 22, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Good luck in Japan, kid. Say “hi” to Hector Luna and Wily Mo Pena when you see them.

  3. mophatici - Nov 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    good luck bryan. i hope you learn to hit a curveball over there. or at least an outside fastball.

  4. chill1184 - Nov 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    I’m surprised that the Cubs didn’t try to flip to get some decent prospects.

    • tuberippin - Nov 22, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      I’m sure they tried, as Epstein shopped pretty much everyone in the Cubs’ system over the past season, but it’s hard to shop a guy who hit .202/.269/.303 with a .572 OPS after the ASB and who hit (and I use the term “hit” lightly here) .063 with a .292 OPS against lefties.

      Besides, he’s going to make significantly more money in Japan than he would have made on a minor-league deal here. That is unless, of course, the Red Sox were interested, since Cherington seems set on overpaying mediocre platoon power hitters by several million dollars (looking at you, Jonny Gomes).

    • paperlions - Nov 22, 2012 at 10:49 PM

      I’m sure the Cubs tried to trade him after his hot streak early last year….no one in MLB is dumb enough to give up anything for a guy that spent nearly 6 entire seasons in AAA for multiple organizations….AAA was his ceiling, everyone could see it, therefore, he had no value.

  5. modellforprez - Nov 23, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    listen listen skank you know I don’t speak that shit. its ok baby me love you long time. isn’t this the home of chi chi mon funeral a.k.a oodles n oodles on the streets money. you know where I’m is

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