Cubs In No Rush To Add Bullpen Help

TUESDAY, 9:09am: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune says the Cubs "are not interested in any of the remaining free agent relievers."  They'll look within for their open bullpen spots, and manager Lou Piniella wouldn't rule out using '08 first rounder Andrew Cashner.

SUNDAY, 10:17am: Injury issues in the Cubs' bullpen won't prompt the club to rush out and acquire a veteran reliever, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cubs officials say they still intend to scout opposing players and consider possible trades through March, but that nagging injuries to Angel Guzman and Jeff Gray won't accelerate their pursuit of bullpen help.

Having lost Kevin Gregg via free agency and having handed Carlos Marmol the ninth-inning role, the Cubs are looking for someone to step up and take over as their primary setup man. Guzman and Gray are two candidates, but are suffering from a sore shoulder and strained groin, respectively.

In addition to exploring the trade market, the Cubs could still add a free agent pitcher. Kiko Calero remains the most intriguing right-handed arm available and has been linked to the team a few times this winter. The Cubs were concerned, however, that Calero could have health questions of his own, given his past shoulder injuries.


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31 Comments on "Cubs In No Rush To Add Bullpen Help"


thejerkstore
5 years 6 months ago

Sounds reasonable enough to me, besdes gray & guzman they have some some decent in house options that are major league ready- gaub, parker, cashner, stevens, caridad. May as well see what they can do

briantalletsmoustache
5 years 6 months ago

They could always approach the Jays about trading for Kevin Gregg . . .

rayking
5 years 6 months ago

Hendry probably should have taken this approach before he gave Grabow a 2-year $7.5 mil contract. They do indeed have decent in-house options, as previously posted – all the more reason Grabow’s money should have been allocated to an area of need.

studio179
5 years 6 months ago

The Cubs do have some young arms that could fill a role in the pen. I think Hendry showed a little patience this offseason…at least more than in the past. Maybe because of the new owners or his horrible ’08 offseason, who knows. He still overpaid, but showed at least the illusion he had more patience. However, he could not wait until the offseason began to rush out and sign Grabow (who has bone spurs in his pitching elbow) for that deal.

studio179
5 years 6 months ago

I am glad to see the Cubs showing some patience here. Someone from their in house arms should rise up to be a decent pen arm this year. No worse than what is left out there on the market anyway. I like the potential of a couple of the names in compitition for a pen spot. They just need to throw strikes and hit their spots to gain confidence and keep Lou’s lack of patience for young pitchers in check.

Ricky Bones
5 years 6 months ago

What’s Roberto Novoa up to?

studio179
5 years 6 months ago

Bounced around with teams and I think he ended up in the Mexican League.

studio179
5 years 6 months ago

Bounced around with teams and I think he ended up in the Mexican League.

crunchy1
5 years 6 months ago

Here’s a thought…does anyone think that Castro’s fate and the bullpen are somehow tied together? With the Cubs lacking the money to sign a free agent, it’s reasonable to assume that they lack the money to bring in somebody via trade. As an example Frasor makes 2.5m and Downs makes 4M. If they don’t have money to sign a FA, how do they add these kind of salaries through a trade? The answer is they have to trade a salary to do it. So, are the Cubs eager to start Castro at SS and move Theriot to 2b to make Fontenot expendable and include his 1M salary in a package for a reliever? That would put someone like Frasor’s net cost to the Cubs at 1.5M

disgustedcubfan
5 years 6 months ago

I’d love to see the Cubs move Fontenot.
For that matter, if Castro is even close to being ready, unloading Theriot would be something to think about. He is average at the plate and probably below average in the field, and makes more $$$ than Fontenot.
What do you think the Padres would want for Heath Bell? Do you think Samardzija and Marshall would be enough?

crunchy1
5 years 6 months ago

The Cubs would like to make that deal, I’m sure, but I don’t think it would be enough for Bell. The Padres like Marshall (if the old Peavy rumors were accurate) but if he were traded, he would be a smaller part of a bigger package. They are one of the teams that likes Vitters a lot. He could be a future low cost replacement for Gonzalez at first. They also need middle infield, a position of depth in the Cubs system. I don’t really know though. This is all just wild speculation!

crunchy1
5 years 6 months ago

You know, you also got me thinking about Marshall. He’s another guy who’s now in the 1M range. Even though he’s probably worth it, there are some scenarios where he may become expendable too. When (if) Lilly returns in May and if Samardzija succeeds as a starter, it may crowd Gorzelanny out of the rotation and give the Cubs two lefty long men out of the pen. The more I think about, the more I think the Cubs should wait until about May to see what kind of options are out there. They’ll know so much more about there team by then.

101andCounting
5 years 6 months ago

I don’t understand why we don’t make Marshall the setup man. He was very effective out of the bullpen last year and an 8-9 of Marshall and Marmol would actually be pretty threatening. I know they’re saying he’s the favorite to get the fifth starting spot, but I don’t see him performing well there – I think Gorzelanny or even Silva could probably do just as good of a job if given the opportunity. We’re gonna have a lot to watch over the next 33 days.

Ricky Bones
5 years 6 months ago

Marshall’s versatility to perform well in all roles precludes him from pitching strictly in a setup role.

Suzysman
5 years 6 months ago

Of course. We have been speculating that Hendry has his back so far against the salary-wall that it will take a musical chairs game if he wants to add anyone. If we were to trade for a high-priced reliever, you can almost bet someone with a fair salary would be included in the deal. Well, the only expendable guys like that are Fontenot/Baker or Marshall/Gorze (although he is needed as the 5th man at least till Lilly returns in my mind – but maybe not Hendrys).

And if they were to maybe trade Fontenot just to have salary space to add a reliever, then the spots vacated would have to be promoted from within (they wouldnt be trading him if they had money). Ideally it would be Baker/Blanco as the main 2B/UI spots with Chad Tracy getting that last roster spot (providing the much needed second real bench bat) instead of Castro being rushed. But we just talked about the apparent obsession they have in getting the ‘Hype’ in the majors…

Cubs in STL
5 years 6 months ago

I honestly think the Cubs should go with in house options here. They have at least half a dozen options to make the team, and one of those guys along with whoever doesn’t make the rotation of Shark, Marshall, and (yes, I know) Silva should be able to log some innings in the pen as well. I still think Guzman’s health is a huge factor in the Cubs chances of competing this year. He can be a legit set up guy and move Gorz to the 7th inning slot, and we could be fine. If he isn’t there, we’re probably going to be in trouble. I also think Lou like Caridad, and he’ll probably have his chance to shine or fail. A ton of these guys have great arms and more than adequate stuff, the question for pretty much the entire Cubs pen will be whether they can help but walk themselves to death or not.

studio179
5 years 6 months ago

You make a good point with Castro and the pen. I think the Cubs (like every team) are going to see what they have in spring training. This is the best option the Cubs have right now. I don’t think Castro heads north no matter how good he does in Arizona, nor should he. I would guess they will hold back his service time for a month or two in AAA. Personally, I would resist fan and media pressure and let Castro play 2010 in Iowa under Sandberg. The only time we should see him is the September call ups. But Cub history and rushing prospects go hand in hand. Even if they push Theriot over to 2B sooner with a Castro coming up, I suspect it will be late May or in June before they do it. The July deadline will be that much closer. Hendry is already saying if the team is in contention that money will be made available.

To your point, I agree this is Fonteno’s last year with the Cubs or sooner. Actually, I believe Theriot’s days as a Cub might be numbered, just not as soon as Fonteno. I would not be suprized if Hendry tries to deal someone like Fonteno when Castro comes up to add a pen arm. If Castro proves he is not ready, then you are back where you started and have to find someone to fill a departed Fonteno’s place, unless they end up keeping Blanco (out of options). I have a bad feeling about Lilly’s injury. Until I see Wells a few starts this year, I am not for certain if he repeats. I hope a couple young arms impress Lou. I also hope Guzman’s injury is really what they say and not that much of a concern. Though you never know. We do know Hendry wants a veteran in the pen at some point this year. I think the pen is more tied to the trio of Gorzy, Marshall and Shark and how well they fill in for Lilly and perform. The other two go to the pen or rotate starts. If they show they can pitch well, that really helps the pen not only for the two who do not start, but takes pressure off of Caridad, Guab or other young arms who rotate in the pen.

crunchy1
5 years 6 months ago

“I think the pen is more tied to the trio of Gorzy, Marshall and Shark and how well they fill in for Lilly and perform.”

Absolutely. The key guy, in my opinion, is Shark (that’s easier than having to spell Samardzija all the time!). The Cubs really, really want him to win that 5th spot in the rotation. If he performs well enough, he could stay in the rotation when Lilly comes back. That would bump Gorzelanny to bullpen and possibly make Marshall a trade chip along with Fontenot. The Cubs have too many moving parts right now to make a deal. In my opinon, they have to wait until May to get a better idea of how things are going to shake out. If the Cubs feel Castro is ready by then(I don’t think he will be, but my opinion doesn’t count!) and Shark nails down a rotation spot, it gives the Cubs the flexibility to trade Marshall and/or Fontenot. Taking those 2M off the books allows them to bring in some salary in a trade.

studio179
5 years 6 months ago

“The key guy, in my opinion, is Shark (that’s easier than having to spell Samardzija all the time!). The Cubs really, really want him to win that 5th spot in the rotation.”

Yes, it would be nice if he won a rotation spot. Time to earn his money! I get the sense that he has matured. I think he went through the typical, cocky attitude early on. He has worked harder last year and knows he has to work to improve and stick in the bigs. Hopefully he shows some results.

Suzysman
5 years 6 months ago

“Yes, it would be nice if he won a rotation spot. Time to earn his money! I get the sense that he has matured.”

I dont know. Matured or not I am worried about the high-side BB/low-side K tendencies from a non-groundball pitcher. Other then his first couple days in the big leagues, he has shown nothing which has me expecting anything more then average at best production out of the rotation or a fair short reliever.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

Uhhh! As I have done several times, I shortened my post and what I meant does not come out correctly. I meant Samardzija sounds like he has matured. I have heard him live a few times and he seems like he is getting it. He came in a bit cocky and had a little early on success. But you’re right, after some relief innings early on, his stats went south. How his maturity level and performance level continues is yet to remain seen. I am hoping he comes around real soon. Another part I removed from my post on Samardzija…Shark, is this point. Personally, I think he will prove he is not quite ready and still needs to fine tune his stuff. I just hope he finds it soon. Next year and beyond he will be relied on more than 2010. If he gets it and comes together, great. If not, well…we know. I have always felt the same as you point out though. He’s a short reliever in my mind. If he fails as a starter and shines as a short man, I’ll take it. The money would be too much, but we know that either way.

studio179
5 years 5 months ago

Uhhh! As I have done several times, I shortened my post and what I meant does not come out correctly. I meant Samardzija sounds like he has matured. I have heard him live a few times and he seems like he is getting it. He came in a bit cocky and had a little early on success. But you’re right, after some relief innings early on, his stats went south. How his maturity level and performance level continues is yet to remain seen. I am hoping he comes around real soon. Another part I removed from my post on Samardzija…Shark, is this point. Personally, I think he will prove he is not quite ready and still needs to fine tune his stuff. I just hope he finds it soon. Next year and beyond he will be relied on more than 2010. If he gets it and comes together, great. If not, well…we know. I have always felt the same as you point out though. He’s a short reliever in my mind. If he fails as a starter and shines as a short man, I’ll take it. The money would be too much, but we know that either way.

Suzysman
5 years 6 months ago

“Yes, it would be nice if he won a rotation spot. Time to earn his money! I get the sense that he has matured.”

I dont know. Matured or not I am worried about the high-side BB/low-side K tendencies from a non-groundball pitcher. Other then his first couple days in the big leagues, he has shown nothing which has me expecting anything more then average at best production out of the rotation or a fair short reliever.

studio179
5 years 6 months ago

“The key guy, in my opinion, is Shark (that’s easier than having to spell Samardzija all the time!). The Cubs really, really want him to win that 5th spot in the rotation.”

Yes, it would be nice if he won a rotation spot. Time to earn his money! I get the sense that he has matured. I think he went through the typical, cocky attitude early on. He has worked harder last year and knows he has to work to improve and stick in the bigs. Hopefully he shows some results.

5 years 6 months ago

Castro is going to be the new Ronny Cedeno. Watch.

5 years 6 months ago

I agree Parker, Cashner, Gaub, Stevens, Cardidad, Berg, Parisi have battle royale for a spot.

Suzysman
5 years 6 months ago

Yay!!! This is the news I’ve been waiting to hear – no more wasted money on mediocre (to poor) relievers when Middle Relief is the biggest near-ready depth the team has!

Now if Hendry can just make Lou actually USE the kids we will get to see what some of them can do before they all end up out of options and subsequently released.

crunchy1
5 years 6 months ago

That would be a first for Hendry. He usually let’s the whole world know his intentions. I really do think that Park was the only FA they really wanted. If we add someone now, I suspect it will be through a trade. The Blue Jays signed Kevin Gregg and may make Frasor and/or Downs available at some point. I think all this means is that there is nothing brewing right now.

disgustedcubfan
5 years 6 months ago

I agree about a trade. There are no free agents left out there who can really help.
The Cubs bullpen, from top to bottom, is a possible disaster waiting to happen.
We need a veteran, premiere set up man, who can possibly close if Marmol blows up.
Am I out of my mind to think Hendry is working on something?

crunchy1
5 years 6 months ago

I think he’s asked around but teams have probably told him they want to wait to see what they’ve got before making trades. The Cubs would be wise to do the same thing but I have a feeling Hendry is only going with in-house options right now because other teams aren’t ready to deal yet. As soon as someone like Jason Frasor (who I think is overrated) becomes available, he’ll be back on the phone again.

Ricky Bones
5 years 6 months ago

Not so much if Marmol blows up as much as when they realise he still cannot locate the strike zone.