Is Jim Hendry Looking at Capps and Calero for the Cubs Pen?

While the Milton Bradley saga continues to dominate the headlines as the Cubs attempt to move him, Jim Hendry reportedly is looking to make other improvements … namely adding a centerfielder and a veteran right-hander for the back end of the bullpen.

The Cubs appear to be in a holding pattern on adding any large contracts until Bradley is traded, two right-handed relievers entered the Cubs rumor mill over the weekend … Matt Capps and Kiko Calero.

Here is the latest …

Milton Bradley

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs were very close to acquiring Mike Lowell from the Red Sox for Milton Bradley during the Winter Meetings. Could the Red Sox still be interested?

Nick Carfado of the Boston Globe does not think Milton Bradley would be a good fit in Boston … but Mike Cameron would.

Dan Wheeler joined Holden Kushner and Jim Duquette during MLB Live Weekend Sunday morning. Holden asked Wheeler about the Bradley-to-the-Rays rumors. Wheeler indicated he knew nothing more than what he has read in the papers and online.

Wheeler played with Bradley in 1999 in the Pan American Games. Wheeler described Milton as a great guy but admitted he knows his track record. Wheeler said he did not have any problems with Milton Bradley.

Wheeler has 100% confidence in the Rays front office. He feels either with Pat Burrell or Milton Bradley the Rays will compete in 2010.

Ron Washington on Milton Bradleyfrom Baseball Prospectus

“I don’t have the formula to why Milton did what he did for us, but I had Milton in Oakland (as a third-base coach) and I handled Milton like a man. I called him out when it was time to call him out and he accepted it. Milton is a very smart guy and he knows when he’s done wrong. I just didn’t let it fester, and in the process, he enjoyed playing in Texas. He certainly enjoyed all of his teammates and the atmosphere that we created there. I just treated Milton like I treated everyone else, like a man.”

Matt Capps

According to multiple reports on Sunday afternoon, the Cubs are interested in Matt Capps … and Capps is interested in the Chicago Cubs.

Capps was non-tendered on Saturday by the Pirates. Some called the non-tender a surprise but Capps is coming off a horrible year. Capps made $2.4 million in 2009 and posted a 4-8 record with a 5.80 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.

Capps saved 27 games but blew five saves and served up 10 home runs in 54 1/3 innings … teams hit a very high .324 against him with a .533 SLG and a .364 BABIP. Capps turned 26 last September and he was solid for a bad Pirates team in previous years.

  • 2008 – 2-3 with a 3.02 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in 49 games … 21 for 26 in save opportunities – .234 average, a .373 SLG and a .268 BABIP
  • 2007 – 4-7 with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 76 games … 18 for 21 in save opportunities – .220 average, a .316 SLG and a .263 BABIP

According to the Tribune, Matt Capps could give Lou Piniella another option in the backend of the pen. The closer job is Carlos Marmol’s to lose while Angel Guzman is projected, if healthy, to be the Cubs’ number one right-handed setup man.

Bill James is projecting a 3-3 record for Matt Capps in 2010 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP … with 30 saves and a .297 BABIP.

Matt Capps’ Player Page on Baseball Reference

Kiko Calero

The Tribune mentioned the Cubs’ interest in Kiko Calero on Saturday night. Calero had a career-year for the Marlins in 2009. Calero posted a 2-2 record in 67 games without a save and a 1.95 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP.

Calero allowed just one gopher ball in 60 innings and held opponents to a .180 batting average with a .261 BABIP and a .235 SLG. Calero was a very effective 34-year old righty. Calero turns 35 on January 9 and is the pitcher somewhere between his career year and his career numbers.

Kiko Calero’s Career Numbers: 14-12 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP … .217 batting average, .334 SLG and a .281 BABIP.

Bill James is projecting a 4-3 record with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP for Calero in 2010 … a .302 BABIP in 66 games.

Kiko Calero’s Player Page on Baseball Reference

A Little Tender-ness

The Cubs tendered contracts to eight of their nine arbitration eligible players for 2010 on Saturday. Jeff Baker, Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman, Koyie Hill, Ryan Theriot, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Marmol and Mike Fontenot were tendered before the deadline while Neal Cotts was not … Cotts is expected to be offered a minor league contract by the Cubs with an invitation to spring training while he recovers from Tommy John Surgery.

The Cubs 40-man roster now stands at 37.

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Well, that’s the latest … and I am sticking to it!

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver