Let’s take a look at our infield – at least this was a little more tolerable than the atrocious Cubs outfield. The trio of Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez is solid, but when Ramirez went down for 2 months with a dislocated shoulder and when no 2nd baseman stood out from among the pack, the Cubs offensive weaknesses were clearly exposed…
Derrek Lee – 1st Base
2009 Report Card Grade – A-. One of the few “bright spots” for the Cubs in 2009. If not for his bad start (.198 batting average as late as May 16th) I may have even given Lee a “Straight A”. From that point on, Lee was by far the Cubs most consistent hitter in 2009. Given the fact that he was playing in a mostly “inept” lineup for most of the season, it makes his numbers look even better. If not for neck spasms that periodically flared up during the season, Lee’s numbers may have been even better.
2009 stats – 141 games; 532 at-bats; .306 batting average; .394 on-base percentage; 35 HR’s, 111 RBI’s; 93 runs scored; 109 K’s; 76 walks.
2008 stats – 155 games; 623 at-bats; .291 batting average; .361 on-base percentage; 20 HR’s, 90 RBI’s; 93 runs scored; 119 K’s; 71 walks.
Lee’s 6th season with the Cubs was his 2nd or 3rd best with the Cubs. The home run and RBI totals were close to his best with the Cubs as the 111 RBI’s were a career-high. His batting average and on-base percentage were both the 3rd best of his career with the Cubs. In addition to his stellar hitting, Lee was the anchor that held the infield together. Lee is always one of the best defensive infielders in the game and his .995 fielding percentage proved just that. Lee had 94 assists and just 6 errors in 1,231 innings played. Not bad.
The 2010 MLB schedule is the final year of Lee’s 5-year, $65 million deal that Lee signed in 2006. That seems like a bargain right now given some of the awful contracts that GM Jim Hendry has burdened the Cubs with over the last few seasons. At the age of 35, it is unlikely that the Cubs will offer Lee a long-term deal to stay with the ball club at the end of the season. It’s a shame. Lee has been a class act with the Cubs. He has made Chicago his home and given back so much to the community. If 2010 ends up being Lee’s last season in a Cubs uniform, it will be a sad day for Cubs fans all across the country.
Lee is a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and let’s hope that Lee has another solid season left in the tank for 2010…