Hector Rondon had a good season, and he was among the best in baseball in the second half. Plus the Cubs have options behind Rondon to close games which make the Cubs reported interest in David Robertson questionable at best. Signing a closer, or relievers, to a long-term contract seldom works out and is typically not the best use of a team’s financial resources.
When asked Tuesday if the Cubs were looking for a closer this winter, Jed Hoyer said, “We feel really good about [Hector] Rondon.”
“We have a young bullpen. Adding a piece, a leader down there is something we would talk about,” Hoyer said. “But certainly as far as needing a closer we feel really good about Rondon. He was great in the second half. He’s got great stuff, great make-up, so that’s not something we feel like we need.”
Jed Hoyer acknowledged adding a lefty reliever would give Joe Maddon another weapon in his bullpen, but did not lock the Cubs into only looking for a southpaw.
“We like our end of the game mix last year with [Pedro] Strop and [Neil Ramirez] and [Justin] Grimm, even [Brian] Schlitter, we feel good about that. But adding another guy to that mix it lengthens it out and allows guys more days off.”
The Cubs would reportedly like to add at least one, if not two, veteran relievers to the bullpen this winter and have been connected to David Robertson, Luke Gregerson and Andrew Miller.
Bruce Levine reported Tuesday afternoon the Cubs, and White Sox, are among many teams interested in LHP Andrew Miller. Jon Heyman also sees Miller as a fit with the Cubs because of Hoyer’s comment about the front office looking for a weapon in the bullpen. It could take around a three-year contract to sign Miller, who Theo Epstein traded Dustin Richardson to the Marlins for on Nov. 12, 2010.
Andrew Miller had a tremendous season, first out of the Red Sox pen then for Buck Showalter in August, September and into October. Miller was 5-5 with a 2.02 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 1.51 FIP in 73 games for Boston and Baltimore last year. Miller struck out 103 batters with only 17 walks and 33 hits allowed in 62 1/3 innings. If Jim Bowden’s estimate is correct, Miller is looking at a three-year contract for $25.5 million ($8.5 million per season), and some think it could take three years and $30 million to sign him.
Andrew Miller’s agent, Mark Rodgers, sees his client as a closer-in-waiting which could run up the price tag for the 29-year old (May 21) southpaw. Rodgers does not think his client will sign quickly this winter and “plans to be methodical in his discussion with teams” according to Jerry Crasnick.
The Yankees’ closer declined New York’s $15.3 million qualifying offer and decided to test free agency. Many in the industry did not think David Robertson would reject the Yankees’ offer and attach draft pick compensation to him. The Yankees reportedly want him back and Robertson is looking for a multi-year contract.
Andrew Marchand reported Robertson is looking for “Papelbon Money,” which is a reference to the four-year, $50 million contract Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies in 2011.
It is really hard to see how David Robertson fits into the Cubs’ Plan. There is simply too much risk involved with signing a closer, that has only done it full-time for one season, to a three-year contract much less a four-year deal and a draft pick.
Updated 3:07pm CST – Joel Sherman reported he was told the Cubs would not be spending “big on a closer this off-season.”
“I think we can be selective when it comes to looking to add to the bullpen that is a nice feeling to have,” Theo Epstein said at the end of the season. “I think the second you feel you are set in the bullpen the volatility of relief performance year-to-year, both individually and in respect to the pen as a whole will bite you. You can’t rest on your laurels when it comes to the pen. I think adding the right, the right type of arm that maybe compliments what we already have or provides some redundancies in the event of the inevitable injury or downturn in performance is important.”
The front office would like to add a reliever to the bullpen, preferably a lefty to go along with Wesley Wright, but that does not appear to be the team’s focus right now. The Cubs remain locked in on Russell Martin, Jon Lester and starting pitching.