"No," Baker said Sunday when asked if Dubois was the front-runner for a job in outfield. "The front-runners are Burnitz and (Todd) Hollandsworth. So we've got a find a place for him to play somewhere out there."
Although it is clear to most Cub fans that Dubois has passed young Dave Kelton among Cub prospects. It does not mean that Dubois will start the year with the Cubs at Bank One Ballpark. Here's more from "Hard Bake":
"Really, it's kind of between him and Kelton," Baker said. "Both are in the same situation. We've got some decisions to make at the end of spring training."
The reason the Cubs may keep Kelton over Dubois has nothing to do with performance. The fact is Kelton will be out of options at the end of spring. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me why the Cubs have held on to Kelton so long. The guy is a hitter without a position. He needs to go to an AL team where he'll get the opportunity to DH.
A few years back the Cubs were gonna go young with Corey Patterson, Hee Choi, Bobby Hill, and Kelton as the core position players. How has that worked? Not as bad as you'd think. The Cubs were able to use Choi and Hill to acquire Lee and Ramirez. Some still think Corey has an upside. I think you might be seeing what you'll get from Corey--great defense, a little pop, but awful plate discipline and pitch selection.
Back to Dubois. Jason is now 25. He has been great the past few seasons in the minors. He was player of the year in the Arizona Fall League in 2003. It really is time for the Cubs to let Dubois earn a shot at starting in LF or RF. At 25 it's time for Dubois to sink or swim.
It is in Cubs best interest to see some young players from the minors make the team and play everyday. This way they can control this players contract for six years before he is eligible to make big cash. This would be beneficial to the Northsiders as big pay days are coming for Aramis Ramirez, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano(just to name a few).
"Hard Bake" likes veteran players. Veteran players are fine. You have to allow deserving young players a chance.
I'm rooting for Dubois this spring. I want to see him make the team and EARN(not be given) a starting spot in the OF. I think it will be good for the Cubs now and in the years ahead.