Cubs Shifting Gears to Other Pitching Options

According to multiple reports, the Cubs moved on to other starting pitching options shortly after Anibal Sanchez re-signed with the Detroit Tigers and have turned their attention to a short-term solution like Edwin Jackson or Francisco Liriano.

The Cubs reportedly had a two-year offer on the table to Francisco Liriano earlier in the off-season but the reports connecting Liriano to the Cubs stopped soon after Scott Baker and Scott Feldman inked their one-year deals.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are also believed to be interested in Carlos Villanueva and reliever Mike Adams.

The Cubs have singed Chang-Yong Lim to a split contract according to Gordon Wittenmyer and he will not be added to the 40-man roster as part of the agreement with the Cubs. Lim is expected to rehab at the team’s facility in Mesa and he will not be considered for a job with the big league team until the Cubs feel he is ready. The signing has not been made official but it appears Lim will not cost the Cubs much money until he is pitching in the majors.

The Cubs 40-man roster is back to 40 players. A day after designating Jeff Beliveau for assignment, the Cubs posted the signing of Ian Stewart (dated December 12) and added him to the official 40-man roster.

Pitching, Pitching and More Pitching
The Cubs are looking to add pitching, both starters and relievers, but until Thursday it was unclear how serious the Cubs were about adding quality arms … and not just starters rehabbing from various injuries. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer surprised everyone with the reported offer of five years and $75 million to Anibal Sanchez.

According to Danny Knobler, “the Cubs had always planned to make some big offers for free agent pitchers this winter and knew there was a good chance they wouldn’t get one.”

The Cubs are not done and according to Bruce Levine they have turned their attention to Edwin Jackson and Francisco Lirianoas well as Mike Adams and Carlos Villanueva.

Updated 8:47am CST – Phillies agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with Mike Adams, pending a physical. Deal contains a vesting option for a 3rd year.

Edwin Jackson is coming off another inconsistent season and is reportedly looking for a long-term deal after signing one of Scott Boras’ infamous “pillow contracts” last year. Jackson was 10-11 in 31 starts for the Nationals with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Jackson is an innings eater but has yet to pitch to expectations … or his stuff.

Francisco Liriano, like Jackson, is coming off another inconsistent season. Liriano was 6-12 in 34 games, 28 starts, for the Twins and White Sox with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Liriano struggled with throwing strikes again and walked 87 batters over 156 2/3 innings. Liriano has good stuff and is only 29 years old.

Carlos Villanueva could give the Cubs some much needed depth. Villanueva is coming off a decent season with the Blue Jays, one in which he posted a 5-7 record in 16 games as a starter with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

Mike Adams is expected to sign a new contract in the very near future. The Cubs are one of several teams (White Sox, Brewers, Angels, Nationals, Blue Jays, Phillies, Rangers) thought to be interested in him.

The Cubs have been connected to Rick Porcello since Epstein and Hoyer took over baseball operations more than 14 months ago … and he may now be available. There was quite a bit of speculation on Friday shortly after Sanchez re-signed with Detroit that the Tigers would soon move Porcello. According to Danny Knobler, the Tigers are receiving a lot of calls from NL teams on Porcello and there could be a fit between the Pirates and Tigers in a deal that includes Joel Hanrahan.

The Cubs could be in the mix but with the price of pitching this winter it would likely cost more for Porcello than the Cubs can, and or willing to offer.

According to Comcast SportsNet, Theo Epstein recently said regarding the 2013 rotation, “We can kind of relax and pick our spots and don’t necessarily have to be desperate.” The Cubs showed with their offer to Anibal Sanchez that they are being aggressive but not desperate.

One thing is certain the Cubs’ front office does not appear satisfied with the lack of depth in the rotation or bullpen as the end of the year approaches.

News, Notes and Rumors
During an interview on MLB Network Radio, Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro told Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette, “we’re still looking for a corner outfielder, we’re considering a couple of trades and there are a couple of guys still available on the market.”

Matt Garza was disappointed and puzzled about Anibal Sanchez re-signing with the Tigers. But on a positive note, Garza threw for the third time since receiving clearance from the team to proceed with his off-season program. Garza said he felt great afterwards.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts flew to Miami in an attempt to sign Anibal Sanchez. Epstein and Ricketts “made an impressive presentation to Sanchez, promising that as a Cub he would be the ace of the staff and treated like royalty.” Sanchez was impressed and ready to sign before his agent, Gene Mato, went back to Detroit with the Cubs’ offer.

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Quote of the Day

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  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Adams to Philly. 3 years, 18 million.

    • Tony_Hall

      Does anyone know why his WHIP skyrocketed last year from extremely low WHIPS 2008-2011 to a high WHIP, for a reliever getting $18M, last year?

      Take a look.

      2008 – 1.041
      2009 – 0.595
      2010 – 1.065
      2011 – 0.787
      2012 – 1.395

      Not sure, but that looks like something changed.

      • Neil
        • Tony_Hall

          I missed that one the other day, there must have been something else that got our attention…

          How do you keep up with everything?


          • Neil

            Yes there was … thanks Tony.

  • cubs1967

    i think it’s good ricketts went to miami; he can learn 1st hand what this losing on purpose plan is viewed by the players; that you are not gonna get the good FA till there is an effort to win. looks like mike adams too chose another team; the phillies.(better)
    when david dejesus is the largest FA contract you’ve given out as an owner; players are gonna talk and not in a good way.

    • Scott

      Do you think that, since you are a numbers guy and Rickets is a numbers guy, and he has done well enough to buy a major league baseball team, that maybe he has a small edge on you? Seriously, get over you negative outlook on every single thing. Epstein and Rickets did everything possible and Sanchez WANTED to sign. But the agent did not act in good faith and leaked information only to drive up the price.

      • Theboardrider

        The Cubs are not “losing on purpose,” there is a plan and they’re following it. Look at the big picture an outside the box a bit. You seem to have a gift of perspective similar to that of my 5 year old. I’d like to see one post from you that doesn’t mention “losing on purpose.” You undermine your credibility when you act like you truly believe that is the master plan. I’ve said before you’d probably be fun to have a beer with and I don’t think you’re as short-sighted as your posts seem. But continuing to hammer away with your rants makes you seem like the crazy, conspiracy theorist down the street that covers his lawn with planks of wood so he doesn’t have to mow in the summer.

    • paulcatanese

      I happen to agree with you on a lot of you’re posts. While I

      don’t agree with the idea of “losing on purpose”,I will say that the Cubs at this point do not place that much importance on “winning”.

      It’s apparant that the primary goal is the minor league
      system and the strength they believe will be there in a couple of years.

      It’s true that good or talented FA’s choose not to come to the Cubs at this point until they (FA’s)

      feel that they are ready to contend. Thats the price the Cubs have to pay now, until things change to the up-swing.

      Epstein is obviously aware of the situation and has made some effort (to a point) and then withdraws those efforts, and has, a number of times when it crosse’s his master plan.

      Epstein has been steadfast with his approach and I don’t constantly agree with it, and as you have,I have been extremely frustrated at times. But it is his plan, and a lot of people agree with it.

      I don’t think you are “constantly” negative in the posts, but realistic in nature. and you’re opinion, which is what you are entitled to.

      I take everything with a grain of salt becuase the real test is when they take the field and try to compete.

      I have always felt the main purpose is to win each and every game and not be put in a position where that is unlikely to happen.

      If this was 30-40 years ago where the inside workings were not available as it is now, I was never concerned about these things and just took the season as it unfolded. Thats what makes it so frustrating, I do enjoy you’re posts, so continue, please, as I enjoy all of the others as well.

    • Rational Logic

      You also have to consider the fact that the players have no say in who they sign with, correct? Is it perhaps possible that players chose NOT to play for the Cubs and that they are signing the best willing players?

      You’re crazy to think that the turn-around time for an organization is so small. Everyone knew from day 1 of the Theo administration that it would be focused on building the farm system through the draft and international signings first. Any player who signs with the Cubs knows this as well – they’re not dumb.

      There may not be enough numbers there for you to comprehend what I’m saying, but it doesn’t take a genius to understand that plan in motion.

      FYI…Theo went to Yale, I’m sure he’s a pretty smart guy, too. How many championship baseball organizations have you helped build? I can’t wait for the day when you eat your words when Theo and Co. have built a strong baseball ORGANIZATION across all levels.

      Bottom up approach vs top-down…how can you not understand that? Perhaps I can put it in numbers:

      • Top Down: 1-2 years of success through buying players with lots of money
      • Bottom Up: 5+ years of success through building a farm system with continuing pieces for a sustainable, successful future and spending money as necessary to complement the major league team.

  • Tony_Hall

    I know it may be hard to believe, but when shopping at the free agency window, that free agents will choose teams that were in the World Series over other teams. Players want to win and get paid. The teams that make the playoffs and have the money to add more players will always have an advantage over teams that miss the playoffs and obviously, over teams that are rebuilding.

    So what makes teams win out on players if they are competing with a playoff team….money. You must overpay the market to win the free agency battle. This isn’t rocket science and I am sure we all understand this concept. The Cubs did that with Sanchez, and yet lost out because the Tigers went just a little higher, they overpaid the overpayor.

    Contracts are going to keep getting higher and higher. Back-ups are now getting $2M/year, middle rotation guys are getting $12-$15M, bullpen arms are getting $6, $7M, difference makers are over $25M.

    5 years from now we will see if a team that buys players (Dodgers, Angels, etc) will have gone down a better path than the Cubs, who are rebuilding from the ground up and will have the same insane TV deals at that point.

    • Dorasaga

      Let’s say it’s true (rebuilder overpay). The question is why the Cubs overpaid (expressed the will of)? Perhaps because they expect a good crop coming from their AA or AAA system in two years, and a five-year out of a good number-2 (Anibal) will put them at a much better place, a playoff run.

      • DWalker

        Theres reports that sanchez has progressed and that his last two months were indicative of where he currently is, and not where he was, IE as a solid #2 that could still improve with the next few years rather than the 3 or even 4 some people on here put him at thats already at his limit. if that was the FO assessment, the willingness to buy now on what could be a high upside guy makes a lot of sense going forward the next couple of years. It would have also taken pressure off the garza situation, leaving them more flexibility to trade him or extend him, IF they can extend him. Looking at the next class of free agents, on the surface it looks like some good names, but most will never reach FA, instead being locked up. if the FO was looking forward and thinks the odds of for sure landing a top of the rotation pitcher or two, then locking up a top pitcher now makes sense.

        Three things are almost certain at this point. future FA classes are going to get much slimmer than they used to be as key players are extended; those that do reach free agency are going to be MUCH more expensive (due both to rarity and the changing face of the financial situation with these major money tv cotnracts). The third thing will be that the teams with the most advanced scouting and profiling are going to take bigger risks on free agents that they think still have growth potential.

        • Dorasaga

          I sure agree on Anibal. He tossed a no-hitter as a rookie, and had always got the stuff and command throughout his career. He could have been an ace if injury didn’t derail him for a year or two, methinks.

          We know this FO had improved with Hoyer & Co.’s new “Cubs Way,” but we yet need to see production at the pitching front. They’ll probably take two more years to prove themselves.

  • John_CC

    I don’t like Edwin Jackson, never have. He’s got to the most over-rated SP out there … or maybe now Anibal and his $80M is. At any rate, that $80 Million to Sanchez is going to make Jackson the most over-paid pitcher for his production of this off-season. Boras is gonna kill someone on this deal. It ain’t gonna be the Cubs.

    • Tony_Hall

      I agree with you, but if Jackson and Boras start to look for a 1 or even 2 year deal (option that vests for either side) then he would be a good innings eater to bring in, and even flip at the deadline.

      • John_CC

        I agree with that, Tony. But my feeling is that Boras will not settle for less than the Sanchez deal. Jackson will get 5 years. And someone will be very sorry in 2.

        NO THANK YOU!

  • Ray Ray

    Many think Theo has this master plan that he is the only one in baseball capable of rebuilding this organization. The contract offer to Sanchez proves that Theo understands he cannot build a winner strictly with buy low sell high fa’s and drafting better. The Sanchez contract would have gone against “this logical” offseason signings. I mentioned this yesterday and they talked about this on the MLB network. Sanchez is a career 30-34 pitcher(don’t quote me on that but he is under .500) he gives up more hits tnan IP. He has never pitched 200 innings. He will be a #4 on the Tigers next year and is generally considered a #3. Garza is a better pitcher than Sanchez. This year was not the right time to overpay on a #3. If this was JH who offered this deal everyone would have been saying how ridiculous it was to offer 5 years to a sub .500 pitcher. Just like the Dempster deal, Zambrano etc. Peolple need to realize that this contract offer to Sanchez was a huge overpay. It wasn’t paying for future performance, it was trying to outbid a WS contending team for his services. It will turn out to be a bad contract just like the contracts Theo gave to Lackey, Beckett, Dice K etc.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree with everything above. But add this to the mix. Porcello is arbitration eligible and the Cub’s just made the Tiger’s overpay to keep Sanchez. The Cub’s have been rumored to like Porcello. So what do you think the Tiger’s next move is now? Just some thought’s to think about with all these Cub’s miss’d trades/free-agent signings.

      That’s my 2 cents

      • Theboardrider

        The deal for Sanchez would have been overpaying, but that’s the price of doing business at this point for a team like the Cubs. It wouldn’t have been horrible but losing out isn’t a backbreaker either. Much rather sign or trade for a younger guy with upside, like Porcello.

      • Ray Ray

        Would Barney and a mid tier prospect get it done for Porcello? Is so, I am all over it.

        • John_CC

          Generally, an MLB Gold Glover would not be considered a prospect, let alone mid-tier.

          • SuzyS

            John, Ray Ray said Barney …”AND a mid tier prospect.” He didn’t call Barney a mid tier prospect.
            I think you misread his comment.

          • John_CC

            Pardon me.

    • Tony_Hall

      I don’t think anyone thinks that Theo is the only one in baseball capable of rebuilding this organization. Just because we like his plan (which is not rocket science) doesn’t mean we think he is the only one capable of doing it.

      Not sure if there ever is a good time to overpay for a #3 or anyone else, but that is the price of free agency pitching and since most of our “elite” pitching prospects are 3-4 years away in the minors, not sure why this would be a bad move, and at the same time not a great or even a good move. It would have solidified the rotation, and it wouldn’t have included a no trade clause, so he would be tradeable if it made sense. But as far as future performance,if Sanchez is a #3 (by MLB standards not his team) for the 5 years, he will be a good value, as contracts are going to go way up in the next 5 years.

  • Nick Baird

    No part of me wants Liriano on this team. He’s finished already. Sign Marcum, I don’t understand why he hasn’t gotten more attention.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      I’d prefer Marcum to Liriano as well, but I’d prefer Liriano to Jackson.

    • triple

      I agree that Marcum could be a good option as he’s been very consistent over the last 4 years (that is when he is pitching). But I think the high risk associated with him is that out of the last 5 years, he’s missed 1 full year due to TJ surgery and about 16 more starts spread over ’08 and ’12. Combine that with him being 31 now and I think teams are probably concerned about what they’ll get for their money.

      The thing I like most about Marcum is that he’s proven that he IS a winner. Sanchez and Liriano have not proven that on a consistent basis. Is it worth it for the Cubs to sign Marcum to a 1 or 2 year incentive-loaded contract if the price is right? Yes.

      I say offer Marcum a 2 year contract worth $7 million for ’13 (with incentives that can add another $2 to 3 mil), and $5 mil for ’14, but with some clause that if he makes a certain number of starts and/or hits a certain amount of days on the active roster during the ’13 season, then it escalates his ’14 salary to $11 mil (plus another $1 or 2 mil in incentives). This would offer Marcum a piece of mind ($12 mil guaranteed over 2 years) incase he endures more injury in this coming year. If he stays healthy and pitches like he’s capable then he can make up to $23 mil over 2 years, and he can easily be traded to a contender at some point for more prospects (while the Cubs eat some of the money in a trade). Which by the way, is one reason why it shouldn’t be so terrible for someone in his position to come to Chicago. Live in a great city while playing ball in front of loyal fans at Wrigley Field, and if the team is losing, he will get traded to a winning team and possibly be part of a pennant race.

  • Neil

    Phillies have agreed to a 2-year,$12-M deal with Mike Adams, pending a physical.Deal contains a vesting option for a 3rd year