Jun 7, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Junior Lake (21) hits a home run against the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Red Sox trade target: Junior Lake

The Chicago Cubs are attempting to make their franchise relevant after many decades of being a punch line for jokes. I’ve used a few myself.

The Cubs have a relatively young team with a starting lineup based on youth and with youth often comes promise with production lagging behind.

Junior Lake is a 24-year-old right-handed bat who, in his 2013 introductory season, slashed .284/.332/.428 with six home runs and just 16 RBI in 236 at bats. Lake also had a 26.8% K rate and a 5.1% BB rate. Unfortunately in 2014 the K rate has increased to 33% and the BB rate has decreased to 4.4%. Not an encouraging trend. “The Lake Show” is slashing .242/.273/.438 for 2014 with eight home runs and 23 RBI.

Lake has had the tag “athleticism” attached to him from the moment the Cubs signed Lake.

Originally Lake was positioned at shortstop, but the Cubs moved him to the outfield, partly in trying to lessen the pressure of his development and taking into consideration his physical growth and questionable foot work at short.

Lake has the potential to be an above average defensive player as he gains experience in the outfield and Lake has seen defensive duty in both center and left field. Lake also has an above average arm and speed.

Lake has demonstrated his power potential recently with a two home run effort against the Marlins. Lake’s size, 6’3’ and 215 listed pounds, clearly show a physical presence. Lake could offer significant right-handed punch.

The negative is obvious and it is plate discipline. In 2014 that has degraded and Lake is on track to have a 150+ K season, but Lake’s power has also seen an increase as that potential provides a tease that may be worth examining.

What would it take to get Lake?

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know the Boston system and both are not above making moves they feel will potentially improve their ball club. What would be a player(s) that could tempt the Cubs to close down “The Lake Show?”

The start would have to be another junior as in Jackie Bradley.

Bradley has been an incredible disappointment and his stock has obviously fallen. Bradley is currently hovering around the Mendoza Line, but actually has a K% lower than that of Lake. Bradley also has a higher BB% and does have a .288 with RISP. Lake has a rather dismal .175 RISP. Bradley also has more doubles (12) than Lake (10) and has 21 RBI to Lake’s 23. Both Lake and Bradley have similar numbers regarding plate appearances.

Jun 7, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (25) hits an RBI single in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Where Bradley has an edge is defensively. Bradley is clearly the more polished fielder and, like Lake, can play left or center. Where Lake has the edge is average and power potential. What would the Red Sox have to add?

The Cubs would, no doubt, be seeking prospects and not a vet lounging on the roster so enter PTBNL (Player To Be Named Later).

The PTBNL is usually the result of an inability to decide both value and need. The PTBNL must be closed within six months and there is usually a list of candidates submitted and that becomes the basis for choice.

In certain circumstances there is an “agreement” that the choice is dependent upon performance of those involved in the main body of the trade. How Lake and Bradley perform would be the deciding factor.

Lake is not Stanton, but Lake is a right hand power bat with unrealized potential – much like Wily Mo Pena.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs Junior Lake

  • Len Biz

    Why is it the only people they attach the Red Sox to are having terrible years? (Kemp, Lake, etc.)

    Why would the Sox give anything up for those guys…especially the albatross contract of Kemp?

  • Willy

    It’s been a while now since Theo and Jed were a part of the Red Sox, Im not so sure I would continue to say they know the Red Sox system as there have been a couple or more drafts since theyve been gone. Though I like Lake I can tell you the Sox are Not looking to move Jackie, if they had interest in Lake at all it would have to be for someone else in return.

    • Rick M

      True, Willy, as both teams will stick it out with the players mentioned. These things are hypothetically. Seems a disappointment for a disappointment type deal. Intriguing, but a real, real long shot. If I remember Bradley was part of the last draft class of the Theo regime.

      Talking Cubs I’d love to see them get Rizzo.

      • Willy

        Yes Theo had a hand in drafting Jackie, that was his last draft class before leaving. Ive always liked Rizzo, my only complaint with him is he can never stay healthy. With Nap here for another year and given how much the Cubs like Rizzo its unlikely he’ll be moved any time soon.

        • Rick M

          Agreed. They were hot after Rizzo as soon as they took over the Cubs. Rizzo will be a big production guy down the road and a franchise centerpiece who is locked up through 2021. This year Rizzo is getting up into that .280 range. Stays there he’ll have himself locked into 30/100.

  • John Finn Jr

    Oh please, why pay money or trade a prospect for a good fielding and good throwing player having a bad year at the plate when we have one for the league minimum already ? Bradley Jr has showed us that he can learn during these failures too. I feel that the only way for Bradley Jr to handle major league pitching is to keep him in the majors. AAA pitchers did not prepae him at all. Keep him and by the end of the season it will be obvious on what we should do with him.