Friday, June 15, 2007

Larry Bigbee May Be Forced to Turn Japanese

With the Astros, Cardinals, Twins and Athletics among teams that may be in the market for outfield help, one-time leading prospect Larry Bigbee has little to lose in opting out of his contract with the Triple A Las Vegas 51s in the Dodgers organization, especially with James Loney, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Delwyn Young and others outranking him.

Yet so far Bigbee seems to be regarded as little more than chopped liver, quite a comedown indeed for the 6-foot-four, 210 pound lefty slugger who was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 1999 draft.

Bigbee, however, is hardly chopped liver. It's his career that's chopped liver, as he has been unable to remain healthy long enough to put together a productive string of appearances and make it plain that he can play with the big boys. Odd, considering that as recently as 2004 the former Ball State standout put together a .280, 15-homer, 68 RBI season in just 478 at-bats for the Orioles.

Dodgers organization sources told that unless Bigbee catches on soon with a major league team, he'll sign a contract in Japan and be lost to anyone looking for help for this year's pennant run.

Is anybody paying attention? Before Bigbee departed for free agent land he was a top hitter in the offensive-minded Pacific Coast League, hitting .349 with a .532 slugging percentage.