Shuffling Through the Bargain Bin

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs remain focused on adding a starting pitcher this winter … and possibly another reliever and a left-handed bat for the bench. If Jim Hendry is unable to land his main targets, could the Cubs be forced to move on to backup plans to fill out their off-season list?

With that in mind, here is my list of free agents the Cubs could sign … if the price is right.

Let’s start by saying that this article is for discussion purposes only. The Cubs have not been directly connected to any of these players by the mainstream media.

Brad Penny
Yes, injury prone Brad Penny. I know this would be a controversial move, but for the right price Brad Penny could be a decent addition to the Cubs for the 2011 season.

Penny has a career 3.99 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in the NL. He is far from a number one pitcher on any staff, but if healthy (which is a big if), Penny could be a solid number three or four starter in the Cubs rotation. A low-base, incentive laden deal could end up being a bargain for a pitcher with his upside … plus, if the Cubs are out of contention Penny could have value at the deadline and net the Cubs a mid-level prospect or two.

Brad Penny’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Chad Qualls, Chad Durbin and Todd Coffey are all still available and I would like to see the Cubs add another arm to the bullpen … especially with Kerry Wood’s injury history.

Now I know what you are thinking, Chad Qualls was absolutely horrible last year with the Diamondbacks and Rays. Qualls posted a combined 3-4 record with a 7.32 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP (2-0 with the Rays in 27 games with a 5.57 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.

However, Qualls does have a respectable, yet unspectacular career ERA of 3.82 and a WHIP of 1.27. If he is still available toward the end of January, a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training could be very fruitful if he is able to return to form.

Chad Qualls’ Page on Baseball-Reference

Chad Durbin wanted to return to the Philadelphia but apparently the Phillies have moved on. Durbin started his career very poorly, which is one reason his career ERA is at 5.05 (with a 1.50 WHIP). Over the last three season with the Phillies, Durbin’s ERA is a respectable 3.62 (11-7 in 194 games for the Phillies with a 1.37 WHIP, 109 walks, 188 strikeouts, 200 hits and 20 home runs allowed in 226 innings). Like Chad Qualls, if Durbin is still available in a month, a $1 million could end up being a bargain.

Chad Durbin’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Todd Coffey is coming off an unspectacular year and was non-tendered by the Brewers. Coffey was 2-4 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP in 69 games (62 1/3 innings). If Coffey could return to his 2009 form (4-4 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP), he could be a very solid addition for the right low price.

Todd Coffey’s Page on Baseball-Reference

None of these guys are eye popping but they all could help solidify the Cubs bullpen … and if the Cubs are out of contention at the deadline they could net a prospect for the investment.

Jim Edmonds
If the Cubs want a versatile left-handed bench bat, as Levine suggested, then maybe Jim Hendry should dig out Jim Edmonds’ number. Jim Edmonds can still play every outfield position with respectable defense, plus Edmonds has experience at first base (six games, three starts at first in 2010).

Last year versus right-handed pitchers Edmonds hit .285/.351/.520/.871 with nine home runs and 20 doubles in 222 plate appearances. Edmonds also plays the game the right way and could be a good mentor for a Tyler Colvin or even a Brett Jackson.

If the Cubs could sign him for the same price the Brewers did last year ($850,000, traded him to the Reds for Chris Dickerson), he could be a nice addition.

Jim Edmonds’ Page on Baseball-Reference

What are your thoughts? Should Jim Hendry do a little shopping in the bargain bin?

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
  • Vivid_Reality

    I find it hard to believe that I am the only person thinking the Cubs should go after Justin Duchscherer. He started off his career as a reliever and was pretty effective, 4 years of sub 3.35 ERA in a row. Transitioned into a starter and was arguably even better. Injuries have recently derailed his career so he would come with high risk/reward at a low base salary. I would offer him a sub 1mm base salary plus incentives for a bullpen role with a shot to compete for a rotation spot. A reliever who could spot start in a jiff would be nice with all the concerns in our rotation right now. It would be easing to have that Sean Marshall role filled again.

  • Matt Weaver

    I still miss Jimmy Ballgame.

    He earned his Cubs stripes in 2008 and would have fit in great with the leaderless 2009 team.

  • Tony

    Just say NO to all these players!

    If they need to add a veteran presence, they can do it in mid-to-late March, after they see if there is a need, for more veteran experience.

    The players still available, will be, about the same amount of bad at that time.

    I still have never understood (one of many) WHY they didn’t bring Edmonds back, but if JH didn’t want him 2 years ago, to come back, I really don’t see it happening now, as that move, would be admitting he made a mistake then.

  • drodd

    Bruce Levive on ESPN1000 just said he thinks the Garza deal might be done today and he said it would be a multiple player deal with the Cubs possibly also getting back another player besides Garza.

  • jw
  • cubsklm

    One of the bargains out there is Scott Podsednik. Seems to me, he’d be a good leadoff hitter, bats left, steals some bases, plays LF,can backup in CF. And mentor Jackson when he arrives. He’s cheap 1.6M. I am not saying fulltime, but a good addition to the mix. Also, for Left handed power off the bench, whatever happened to the deal for Chris Davis? He can backup Pena at 1B, and has played a little 3B. Especially since the Rangers got rid of Salt and Ramirez behind the plate. Send them Castillo & some young pitcher for Davis. Davis will kill the ball at Wrigley and Rudy can help him. Groom him for 2012 when Pena walks.

    I would platoon in leftfield and use this batting order, until we get a real fulltime leadoff hitter. I.e. Jackson. Don’t tell me Soriano can’t leadoff – we won 2 divisional titles with him leading off. It’s not desirable, But…..

    1.) Soriana/Pods LF
    2.) Castro SS
    3.) Pena 1B
    4.) Ramirez 3B
    5.) Byrd CF
    6.) Colvin RF
    7) Soto C
    8.) DeWitt/Baker 2B

    Lefties off the bench:
    Chris Davis 1B/3B
    Fukudome CF/RF

    Righties off the Bench:
    Chirinos C
    Barney SS/2B
    Fill in the Blank
    Fill in the Blank




    Fill in the Blank
    Fill in the Blank

    • Tony

      Soriano can’t bat lead-off! Deal with it.

      Sure they could bat him 1st, but, that would be almost the worst choice in the lineup to bat lead-off.

      But if that is what you want, we may as well bat Dewitt 3rd.

      O we already did that.

      The division titles were in 07 and 08, and his style wasn’t good for lead-off then. He is a 6 or 7 hole hitter, on a good team. That is it.

  • Jmvukovi

    I would rather the Cubs play the young talent they have then insert these “bargains”.

  • Jmvukovi

    Miles indicating its Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer and Robinson Chirinos

    in possible trade for Garza and ???

    • Tony

      If this happens, that would mean JH is going for it this year. He will sell off more of our prospects to keep filling in the roster as the year goes on.

      JH has dug himself into a hole so deep, he can’t even see the daylight and is doing the only thing he can, dig some more…

  • Tony

    Now is the time to hope that the Hak Ju Lee, Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos don’t turn into productive major league players.

    Welcome Matt Garza

  • Mr. Steve

    Jim Edmonds would be an interesting addition….for all thr right reasons. As far as adding a right arm ………..give the kid’s a chance. If your in it……..then get the arm.