The Cub Can Of Worms: José Macίas

Here's another recent player for whom we can say, for the most part: it wasn't his fault.

Jose Macias was 30 years old and two years removed from an almost-league-average (91 OPS+) season with the Tigers in 2001, where he had stolen 21 bases and hit .268/.316/.391, when the Cubs acquired him from Montreal for a minor leaguer named Wilton Chavez. You might have been forgiven if you'd have thought he could have made a decent defensive replacement/pinch runner for a year or so, the 25th guy on the roster.

A typical pose for Jose, being tagged out

photo via images.usatoday.com

Unfortunately, Dusty Baker didn't see him that way -- over the course of Jose's two years as a Cub, Dusty put him in the starting lineup 157 times, including 21 times in center field, a position he was ill-suited for. Further, Dusty put him in the leadoff spot in the batting order 24 times, in spite of Jose's .292 OBA in 2004 and .274 OBA in 2005. Jose drove in 35 runs in 371 Cub at-bats; just 20 of those RBI came in Cub victories. The Cubs were 99-111 in games in which Jose appeared and 25-29 in games he started.

As I said, most of this is not Jose's fault. He was, as were many of "Dusty's horses", used in ways that weren't suited to their abilities. I'll close this Can of Worms post on a positive note -- Jose will always have a place in Cubs lore, because on September 28, 2005, in a 3-2 loss to the Pirates, he hit the last home run that ever landed in the old Wrigley Field bleachers, before they were torn down after that season and renovated. It was the only homer he hit in 2005 and the last of his major league career; in 2006 he went to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters in NPB's Pacific League, where he hit .229/.264/.344 with 1 HR in 227 at-bats. His final baseball stop was in the Brewers' system; he played for their Triple-A Nashville affiliate in 2007.

Thankfully, the Cubs now have a manager who doesn't use guys like this in roles they aren't suited for.

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