Cubs Sign Bob Howry

The Cubs are bringing Bob Howry back. They signed him to a major league deal today in the hopes that he can stabilize their bullpen and his career. They designated David Patton for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster and will option Justin Berg to the minors to create space on the active roster. Earlier in the week, the D'Backs released Howry, who used to set-up for the Cubs. The right-hander posted a 10.67 ERA in 14 appearances this year before the D'Backs had had enough of their $2.25MM investment.

MLBTR reported the signing after Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs were interested in signing Howry and that the sides were close to a dealGordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Cubs expected Howry to join the team today. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reported the details of the roster moves (via Twitter).

Cubs GM Jim Hendry had said that Cubs were on the lookout for right-handed relief, and he had many options to consider. The trade market has yet to fully develop, so Hendry went back to Howry, a reliever whose work he knows well. Howry posted a 3.90 ERA in 228.2 innings with the Cubs from 2006-08. Back then, Howry was much more effective than he was in Arizona this year. Still, his career numbers, especially those against right-handers (6.7 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9), suggest he's capable of better things.


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43 Comments on "Cubs Sign Bob Howry"


Flharfh
5 years 2 months ago

Didn’t he play for them last year?

Doubtless its some brilliant GM scheme on Hendry’s part, to get him after he was released and so pay him a fraction of what he would have otherwise….

jdub220
5 years 2 months ago

HA! Good luck.
Although I hope Howry pitches better in Chicago, this will almost certainly blow up in Hendry’s face.
Although, it’s the prorated minimum and no risk financially, Howry will cost the Cubs more than a few games.

5 years 2 months ago

I’m not a Hendry fan but I don’t know how picking up a guy who was released can blow up in your face. If he sucks, no surprise. If he pitches better it’s a nice find. There’s no risk.

jdub220
5 years 2 months ago

It can cost the Cubs some wins. Like I said, no financial risk, but pretty significant game-losing risk.

jdub220
5 years 2 months ago

It can cost the Cubs some wins. Like I said, no financial risk, but pretty significant game-losing risk.

Francisco Rodriguez
5 years 2 months ago

CSN Chicago already reported he signed.

cubs223425
5 years 2 months ago

If it is a move that seems like a bad idea, expect Hendry to jump all over it. THAT is how you know a mistake has been made.

If they DO sign him, then I guess it’s either Russell down and Gorzelanny to the bullpen or Caridad down and Silva to the bullpen.

5 years 2 months ago

Caridad went on the DL before tonight’s game with a sore elbow, once again. Jeff Stevens was called up to fill the spot. Comcast Sports Net reported Howry will join the team on Friday in Texas. I would expect either Stevens or perhaps Russell to be sent down to make room on Friday.

I think it’s a good gamble. Despite looking horrible in Arizona, Howry has always started slow. His career ERA for April/May is almost 1 full point higher than the rest of the season, and he did have a nice year in SF last year. If he can’t put it back together, no biggie, you release him. It’s not like they have many other options right now. They don’t want to call Cashner up and put him in the pen and the other relievers in the minors are nothing special.

ChiCubs13
5 years 2 months ago

there is no way in the world they send Silva to the bullpen. why on earth would they do that when he has been the best start for the Cubs so far going 5-0 with a 3.35 ERA. and the deal has already been reported.

55saveslives
5 years 2 months ago

At this point, why would anyone have interest in Howry regardless of the price???

5 years 2 months ago

Because he had a good year last year in SF and has a career long history of starting slowly.

55saveslives
5 years 2 months ago

Holy bejesus! You are the first person to say Howry had a good year in SF…

You are definitely NOT a Giants fan.

5 years 2 months ago

Howry’s numbers in SF last season: 3.37 era, 1.147 whip, both below league average. Batters hit .214 off him, only a .283 obp, only a .350 slg %. The Giants tried to use him as a closer many times, and he struggled. He hasn’t had closer stuff for almost a decade, but as a middle/late reliever he was still better than league average, in fact, his numbers from last season are good.

55saveslives
5 years 2 months ago

All 5 of his HR’s were walkoffs. He was only good in garbage time.

5 years 2 months ago

And that’s what you remember. You don’t remember the good work he did in SF, you only remember when he failed so as far as you’re concerned he’s a bad pitcher. I wish I were a GM and you were a GM and we made a lot of trades with each other. Every time one of your descent players screwed up I’d call you up and take him off your hands for next to nothing because you are apparently incapable of putting things into context.

55saveslives
5 years 2 months ago

Bob is that you???

LOL of course I remember the bad outings because there were far more bad than good outtings!!

When Howry came in with a 5 run lead or down by 5 runs, he very often got 1-2-3 innings!

When Howry came in in the 8th with a runner on up by 1, not only would that runner score but so would the hitter he was facing.

This is not made up….this is FACT!!!

You can take Bob and your lame insult attempts! We in SF are GLAD he is gone. I’m sure Dbacks fans feel the same way!

5 years 2 months ago

The Giants have Brian Wilson at closer, who had 38 saves last year. lol So how in the world did you get the idea that Giants tried Howry out at closer many times?

jb226
5 years 2 months ago

Have you seen the Cubs’ bullpen this year?

Sad as it is, his 10 ERA would be better than Samardzjia and Cardiad and only about a point above Grabow’s. Obviously the Cubs would be hoping for and expecting a better performance than that, but I think that’s a good explanation of why they would take a flier on him for $300k.

BornRed
5 years 2 months ago

Well Samardzija is in AAA and Caridad is on the DL… but yeah, the point reminds valid which is why this deal makes sense. There is very little the Cubs can count on in the bullpen… Marshall and Marmol have been great, beyond that it’s bad. As has been previously stated, go for it, you aren’t losing much. Maybe he’ll regain something back on the North Side.

At this point you don’t even care if he can be the setup guy he was for the Cubs a couple years ago, if he can be effective middle relieve that is absolutely wonderful.

5 years 2 months ago

I don’t hate or like this I’m more of a EEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

BentoBox
5 years 2 months ago

Middle Relievers + Hendry = Match made in heaven.

5 years 2 months ago

Yes, because no other team uses middle relievers.

jayrig5
5 years 2 months ago

Bob Howry was terrible with the Cubs in 2007 and 2008. I don’t need the numbers, but I’m sure they back me up. He was just a 6th or 7th inning guy then, too, setting up for Marmol/Dempster, and then in 2008 for Marmol/Wood, but he blew a ton of leads and games. He has one pitch he can throw with any sort of consistency (a straight as an arrow 90 MPH fastball) and a terrible breaking ball that he can only throw in the dirt or hang on the inner half. I rejoiced when they didn’t bring him back in 2009. He was washed up two years ago. Last year was a fluke, his stats this season are far more representative of what I thought would happen. I mean, he may be better than some of the younger guys, but that’s right now; the younger guys can get better by pitching more. Howry’s totally downhill. He blows. This is another example of LouJim grasping at retreads right as they finally find some chemistry. I guarantee Howry will cost the Cubs games. (Ironically, he was good his first season, when Dusty Baker used him 84 times, his velocity was never the same.)

He gave up 13 homers for the Cubs in 2008. He’s ALREADY GIVEN UP 6!!! How is this a defensible move? Marshall and Russell have gotten everyone out, not just lefties. If they’re bringing Howry in as a garbage time pitcher who can throw strikes and eat innings, fine. But if he’s coming in to protect leads, they’re making a huge mistake.

BlueCatuli
5 years 2 months ago

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=237&position=P

He choked in big situation is 2008, but overall he had decent numbers. He was one of the best parts about the bullpen in 2007. Lou knows how to use him. If it doesn’t work, cut him, otherwise its a low risk/high reward signing.

BornRed
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, that makes sense. You don’t need numbers you just “know” he was bad. The numbers don’t really back you up, sorry.

jayrig5
5 years 2 months ago

I watched probably 120 of their games, a conservative estimate, and the highlights of all of them. He was awful. He threw his fastball in the low 90’s, dead-straight, and had no consistent breaking pitch. I checked the numbers, btw, as you’ll see by the fact I listed stats in my post. His 07 numbers were decent, but he tailed off and was bad in pressure situations. But he fell apart in 2008. His ERA was 5.35. 1.45 WHIP. 90 hits in 70 innings. 13 home runs. And the high ERA only included 13 walks. He got knocked all over the place. How are these decent numbers?

When I said I didn’t need the numbers, I didn’t mean I had no idea what they were, I meant that anyone who watched him pitch knew he was bad. Even the Cubs, who overhauled the entire bullpen (and did a terrible job, but that’s another of LouJim’s qualities) after the 2008 season, and didn’t bring him back.

But if you want to tell me that 11.5 hits/9 is a good number for a reliever, go ahead. And that’s only slightly under what he has this year already. And, as I said, he’s given up 6 home runs. In 14 innings.

He sucked in 2008, he wasn’t great in 2007, and he’s been terrible so far this year. It’s hard to be excited.

Feel free to respond. Use whatever numbers you want to tell me his 2008 season was better than I laid out. Please.

jayrig5
5 years 2 months ago

Semi-related, if the Cubs were determined to sign a struggling former reliever, I would have rather they signed Chad Gaudin. They released him last year so they could keep Rule-5 pick David Patton on the roster. (The same David Patton who was just DFA’d to sign Howry.) But Piniella never liked Gaudin, and the Cubs will probably pass on the chance to get Gaudin for next to nothing, which would make up for paying him last season to start for the Yankees, in essence.

BornRed
5 years 2 months ago

You just proved my point for me. After looking at the numbers, you went from he was terrible in 07 and 08 to he was average in 07 and 08. I won’t deny that Howry sucked in 08, but he was a pretty good relief pitcher in 07, especially compared to the rest of the bullpen. He was a middle relief guy to get to Marmol and Dempster, and his stats are consistent with a solid middle reliever. Not lights-out, but respectable.

jayrig5
5 years 2 months ago

Howry pitched the 8th inning in 07 for much of the season, for some reason. He slid back to the 7th by the end of the year, but in the playoffs, it was Marmol who came in in the 7th of game 1 after Lou yanked Zambrano. So he goes from respectable (although fading and still getting hit) to sucking (bad the entire season, getting crushed) and two seasons later he’s the answer? The numbers absolutely backed me up in 2008, and it’s not like he was great in 2007.

Ah well. Think whatever you want about 2007. I thought he was average then. His 2008 may have colored my original hatred of the news he was being brought back, so I exploded and said he was terrible both years. But he was definitely awful in 2008.

Go IU.

BornRed
5 years 2 months ago

The move doesn’t excite me regardless. I remember Howry as I guy who was good in 06, respectable in 07, crap in 08. In no way shape or form should he be expected to be a bullpen savior, but the move makes sense as a low-risk potential improvement to the bullpen. I’m a little more patient on these since the Edmonds pick-up a couple years ago. I HATED that move when it was announced.

5 years 2 months ago

I’m one of the rare Cubs fans who refuses to boo players that are in slumps.

THE ONLY EXCEPTION I have was when Bobby Howry started warming up in the bullpen. I booed that relentlessly. He’s terrible.

5 years 2 months ago

APRIL FOOLS!

crunchy1
5 years 2 months ago

I think the best parts of this move are that Berg goes back to AAA and Patton gets bumped from the roster. Probably won’t hear from Patton again and Berg’s time is running out too. We’re getting rid of 2 bad pitchers and got only one in return! It’s a win for the Cubbies!

5 years 2 months ago

Crunchy, I’m not so sure that Berg’s time is running out. He’s old for someone in his position and he’s not a prospect but there’s still a chance he can be a serviceable reliever. I’d give him another shot if he goes down and does well. As for Patton, yeah, about time. I doubt we hear anything much about him again.

crunchy1
5 years 2 months ago

I’ve never been a big fan of Berg’s. He walks to many people for a guy who allows to many balls in play. If you aren’t going to be a strikeout guy, then you have to have good control. And Berg doesn’t. I think at best he’s the 11th or 12th pitcher on your team.

thejerkstore
5 years 2 months ago

Addition by subtraction. Seems to be the only thing Hendry is good at.

Not real confident of Howry helping too much but i am all for bringing in bodies that don’t average 5 walks per 9 innings. I think Jay Jackson will be up soon and maybe just mabye i can stomach watching the 8th & 9th innings again

crunchy1
5 years 2 months ago

That’s the one thing Howry brings – better control. Though sometimes that means he leaves a fatty up there. He’ll give up that longball. I think the Cubs may have changed their mind with Jackson. They’d have to open up another spot on the 40 man roster to make that move. I think if they were going to call him up, he would have been the one to replace Patton on the 40-man.

thejerkstore
5 years 2 months ago

i could be way off but i think they are going to trade Gorzelanny soon and bring up Jackson. With Z going back in the rotation i can’t believe they would send Silva to the bullpen and Gorz would be the 4th lefty in the pen.

studio179
5 years 2 months ago

You got that right. Berg can go back to the minors and we cut loose Patton. I can’t believe they refused to send him out last year just because he was a Rule 5 guy…and bad. The worst part is, as much as I don’t want to see Howry, anyone is worth a shot over trotting Grabow out there. I close my eyes and pretend he’s not pitching.

crunchy1
5 years 2 months ago

Agreed. There just aren’t that many options out there. That’s the way I’m looking at it…even if Howry gets lit up, how’s that any worse than Berg or Samardzija or any of the other guys we’ve tried getting lit up?

5 years 2 months ago

Howry is no different than 90% of the other relief pitchers in the major leagues, they’re very hard to predict year to year. Howry has had good years and off years. In his case he also tends to start slowly. There isn’t anything to indicate that this cannot be a good year for him if used in the proper way. As a middle reliever, someone who can help get a lead to the closer, he should be able to handle it. Absolutely no reason not to give him a shot since he’s perfectly capable of doing a good job and it’s going to cost next to nothing.

studio179
5 years 2 months ago

Let’s hope the slow start thing that he is noted for is the case. I’m not excited about it, but mid May is not going to produce a trade anyhow. This is about as good of a shot to shake up the pen, since don’t have much in the way of internal options. The cost is low and maybe he can string together some good outtings. Again, I’m not excited about it, but it is worth a chance. My problem is in how Hendry constructed the pen in the offseason to begin with, but that is an obvious weakness to everyone.

5 years 2 months ago

I like the idea of bringing him in since it doesn’t cost a load of $$$ or trading someone actually worth something. There really isn’t much too lose. With Z moving to the rotation and an abundance of relievers already I wouldn’t be surprised if a trade happens soon. There is an abundance of left handed arms on the roster now. Who goes to the bullpen in the meantime though?