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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