I got this E-mail from a reader and told him I’d post it. Discuss among yourselves as we celebrate being on top of baseball.
The Chicago Cubs should sign 40-year-old veteran outfielder Kenny Lofton. The East Chicago-native hit .296 last season with 31 extra-base hits, 23 stolen bases and he walked more than he struck out.
All season, the Cubs have been looking for another left-handed bat, and Lofton may be the answer. Kenny hit .313 last season against righties with a .838 OPS. Lofton can fill the platoon with the right-handed Reed Johnson if Jim Edmonds (3-24, .125) continues to struggle.
What the Cubs are hoping Edmonds will provide that Kenny won’t, is power. Piniella has been batting Edmonds 5th and 6th in the order, and last night ahead of Geovany Soto who is amongst the team leader’s in RBI’s.
Piniella has also started Edmonds in center in every game against a right-handed starter since he joined the team, and Lou has said he needs to start hitting.
If he doesn’t start hitting, and the low-priced Edmonds is waived, Kenny Lofton should be an option the Cubs consider.
And Kenny wants to play…
“Everybody says, ‘Why doesn’t anybody sign Barry?’ I say, ‘Why doesn’t anybody sign Kenny?'”, said Kenny Lofton.
Kenny still has good speed and is a good hitter. He can still cover ground in the outfield, but doesn’t have much of an arm, in which case you can use Reed Johnson as a late-inning defensive replacement if need be. He may not still be able to steal that base in a tight spot, but he’d still be a threat to run.
He got the job done last season and in the playoffs for Cleveland, where he was easily the most popular player on the team. You would also assume the Chicago-native would be well received by Cubs fans after collecting 16 hits (.308 average) in 12 games during the Cubs magical playoff run of 2003.
And in the season where the Cubs are chasing away the ghosts of the last 99 seasons, who better than Kenny Lofton to win a Championship with?
Is there an individual player who has endured more heartbreak than Kenny Lofton?
Kenny was a part of a great Cleveland Indians team (Thome, Omar, Belle, Manny in his first full-season, Eddie Murray in his last hurrah, Sandy Alomar) that lost Game 6 of the 1995 World Series in Atlanta giving the Braves their only Championship of their non-dynasty.
In 1997 he was traded to Atlanta, but the Braves lost the NLCS in 6 to the upstart Florida Marlins who went on to shock Cleveland.
The next season he was traded back to Cleveland, and after beating Boston they lost the 1998 ALCS in 6 to the record-breaking 114-win New York Yankees.
After first round divisonal series losses in 1999 & 2001, Kenny was traded to San Francisco. In the season after Barry Bonds set the single-season home run record with 73, Barry, with his obscene 268 OPS+ (greatest single season in baseball history) carried the Giants to the 2003 World Series where they blew a 3-2 lead and lost to the Anahiem Angels in Game 7.
The next season he was traded to Chicago in July and hit .327 in 56 games for the Cubs. Chicago lead the 2003 NLCS three games to one, Kenny experienced the Game 6 Mark Prior, Alex Gonzalez, Kyle Farnsworth meltdown, and watched the Florida Marlins win three in a row and then shock New York in the World Series.
In 2004 Kenny signed with the New York Yankees…
Finally last season Kenny was the spark that got the Cleveland Indians hot and into the 2007 ALCS where they had a 3-1 lead, only to have Boston win three straight and sweep the World Series.
Seven times he’s lost to the team that won the World Series. If the Cubs are due after 100 years, maybe Kenny is too.