Chicago Cubs’ bench spots are limited. Not like those offers for Snuggies on TV are limited. The Cubs’ bench spots are actually limited.
There are going to be five guys on the bench on this year, and as things stand, all the spots are taken: Reed Johnson, Joey Gathright, Aaron Miles, Paul Bako/Koyie Hill, and Micah Hoffpauir.
Which is why it is somewhat surprising to hear Lou Piniella still talking about the Cubs picking up another infielder.
Read up, after the jump.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Wednesday he has talked to general manager Jim Hendry about the bench and said the team’s scouts will be keeping an eye out once games start in both Florida and Arizona. MLB.com.
Obviously Hoffpauir is the guy on the outside looking in if the Cubs pick up another infielder. He can play first, and the corner outfield spots, but not well. He’s a great bat off the bench, but his limited versatility is the chink in the armor.
Joey Gathright is a pain in the bench, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, he can backup all the outfield spots – but so can Reed Johnson. Yes, he’s fast – but he can’t hit for squat (career OPS? .632! *squeal of sincere terror*).
If Hoffpauir can reasonably cover the corner outfield spots, then he should have a bench job over Gathright. Kosuke Fukudome and Johnson give the Cubs two guys who can cover center field, so it is not as if Gathright is a necessity in that regard.
Gathright does nothing off the bench but run, whereas Hoffpauir hit .364 as a sub last year (not to mention his overall .342 / .400 / .534 line at the major league level).
Heck, Hoffpauir is even better at stealing bases than Gathright. Unlike Gathright, Hoffpauir – one for one – has never been caught stealing in the bigs. Tee hee.