Cubs Looking At Several Veteran Starters

The Cubs have five starters tentatively pencilled into their 2011 rotation, but given the number of question marks on that staff, it's understandable that the team is looking to add a veteran innings-eater to the fold.  ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill reports that Chicago has "shown interest" in Jeremy Bonderman, Aaron Harang, Kevin Millwood and Javier Vazquez, and also cites a Chicago Sun-Times item connecting the team to Vicente Padilla.  Churchill says the Cubs "kicked the tires on" Jon Garland before the right-hander signed with the Dodgers.

All five starters would make sense as low-cost additions; Vazquez has reportedly turned down a two-year, $20MM offer but it seems like he's more likely to end up in Florida or Washington than in Chicago.  The Cubs are probably looking for a short-term deal, and Garland's $5MM pact with L.A. would likely be a good comparison point.  That $5M salary (plus incentives and a 2012 vesting option) would likely be enough to land Millwood or Harang, and Bonderman would leap at that offer given his injury-riddled recent history. 

Padilla is coming off the most solid season of the group and could command a bit more money or a second year, though he made only 16 starts in 2010 due to various nagging injuries.  Churchill cites the Mets, Padres and Pirates as other teams that could use a starter that fits Padilla's profile.

Bonderman, Millwood and Vazquez all landed on Luke Adams' list of free agent pitchers that could benefit from a move to the NL, though pitching in a hitter-friendly park like Wrigley Field might not be what they had in mind.  As we saw with the Garland signing, teams that play in pitcher's parks will have an advantage in finding extra arms for their rotation, especially when it comes to a pitchers like Bonderman or Harang who are trying to rebuild value.

Speaking of rebuilding value, there's also a chance that the Cubs could look at a higher-ceiling starter such as Brandon WebbFanhouse's Ed Price hears from a source that Chicago is "seriously considering" Webb.  The former Cy Young Award winner has also drawn interest from several other teams, but the Cubs could be helped by the fact that Chicago is relatively close to Webb's home in Kentucky.


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62 Comments on "Cubs Looking At Several Veteran Starters"


4 years 9 months ago

whoever they get theyll still suck. go cards!!!! =D

Ferrariman
4 years 9 months ago

they can have Kyle Lohse for Starlin Castro(don’t put it past hendry)

Smileybush
4 years 8 months ago

Tommy Boy was the director of scouting for the cubs when they traded a 20 year old Lohse for 37 year old Rick Gaguilera, so it does make perfect sense that he would trade a 20 year old to bring him back . . .

Smileybush
4 years 8 months ago

Tommy Boy was the director of scouting for the cubs when they traded a 20 year old Lohse for 37 year old Rick Gaguilera, so it does make perfect sense that he would trade a 20 year old to bring him back . . .

mrmoss
4 years 9 months ago

Cubs have no pitching at all,maybe though could bring Mark Prior back

Ferrariman
4 years 9 months ago

what would that solve?

jwsox
4 years 9 months ago

nope im pretty sure he is still under contract with the rangers in their minor league system

Smileybush
4 years 8 months ago

Rothschild took all his towels with him to the Yankees, so there is nothing for Prior to do in Chicago

Smileybush
4 years 8 months ago

Rothschild took all his towels with him to the Yankees, so there is nothing for Prior to do in Chicago

hawk8
4 years 9 months ago

The wind blows in at Wrigley a heck of a lot more often than it blows out. It is very overrated as a “hitters” park.

jwsox
4 years 9 months ago

its a hitters park because the wind actually blows across field(out to right) and its a hitters park because of the fact thats its small and has those stupid little gates to catch balls in the field of play

imacubsfananditsucks
4 years 9 months ago

white sox play in a hitters park. wind blows in at wrigley a lot more through the season than out in wrigley, especially during april and may.

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

actually if you watch enough games and listen to enough people talk the way the wind is effected by the buildings around there if the hitter gets the ball up its shot down by the wind but if the ball stays low enough its gone and sometimes if the ball is high enough it is gone just based on how the wind blows

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

actually if you watch enough games and listen to enough people talk the way the wind is effected by the buildings around there if the hitter gets the ball up its shot down by the wind but if the ball stays low enough its gone and sometimes if the ball is high enough it is gone just based on how the wind blows

hawk8
4 years 8 months ago

It’s actually not small either. The fence down the right field line is one
of the farthest from home plate in the league (353ft as opposed to most that
are in the 320s) and left field is even farther. The fence is higher than
most standard walls so the baskets really don’t make a difference either.
Any ball that would land in a basket would be over an 8ft fence.

Smileybush
4 years 8 months ago

power alleys are among the smallest in the league – that is where more hrs are hit (as opposed to down the foul lines)

Smileybush
4 years 8 months ago

power alleys are among the smallest in the league – that is where more hrs are hit (as opposed to down the foul lines)

4 years 8 months ago

the gates are to catch yuppy beatnick cub fans. being a sox fan you should know that. also even with the basket our walls are high than the cell. just sayin

firealyellon
4 years 8 months ago

you’re wrong. Wrigley played as the most hitter friendly last year behind only Coors and Yankee Stadium. This was no fluke: they also ranked 3rd in 2009 and in 2nd 2007. (rankings per ESPN’s Park Factor stats)

downanddirty
4 years 9 months ago

Watch Hendry bring back Todd Wellemeyer as his “big” move.

Bob George
4 years 9 months ago

Signing a veteran SP doesn’t make a lot of sense for this team. They’re not going anywhere, and pitching (and OF) are the two positions they do have prospects coming up to fill. They already have Dempster, Zambrano, Wells, Gorzelanny, Silva, plus Marshall, Cashner, and several minor league options like Jay Jackson and Carpenter. Spending $5 mil or more to block a kid’s path to the majors when the Cubs aren’t going to contend makes no sense, but that’s a Hendry type of move. Ignore the kids, sign recycled vets. Just another reason Hendry should be fired.

Vivid_Reality
4 years 9 months ago

I disagree, we could use a veteran such as Webb on a one year deal. At the very worst it pushes Silva out of the rotation. At the best he takes off and we trade him at the deadline for a couple plus prospects. I would welcome both scenarios.

jwsox
4 years 9 months ago

assuming webb can still pitch effectivly…which no one knows if he can and if he can stay healthy but still the cubs are out of it next season the cards are going to get better and the reds are going to stay very good if not get better…teh cubs should trade away as many big older guys as they can and rebuild now to compete sooner than later

Vivid_Reality
4 years 9 months ago

I disagree, we could use a veteran such as Webb on a one year deal. At the very worst it pushes Silva out of the rotation. At the best he takes off and we trade him at the deadline for a couple plus prospects. I would welcome both scenarios.

jb226
4 years 9 months ago

I know it’s fashionable to hate on Hendry, but your analysis is pretty shallow.

Spending $5MM to block a kid’s path to the majors is not a good idea — but neither is bringing up a kid who is not ready for it. Jackson’s 4.50 FIP is hardly inspiring and doesn’t scream out “TIME FOR A CALLUP!” even if it could get by at the majors. Carpenter did well at AA (3.50 FIP) but got shellacked in his brief call-up to AAA. He wouldn’t be a bad choice if the Cubs had no other options, but again, it’s not something that screams out that now is his time. Cashner has one pitch at this point and doesn’t even know where it’s going half the time. I think he’ll be a good pitcher eventually, but it’s going to be out of the bullpen unless he really develops those other pitches (and possibly even if he does). Marshall could definitely step in, but he has been mediocre in his career as a starter and was dominant as a reliever — not sure you want to mess with that. Even if you did, you’re just making a really bad bullpen situation in Chicago even worse. The best starting pitching performance at AAA was Thomas Diamond, who will probably get another shot but ultimately struggled in the role when given a chance in the majors. If anybody should get another shot, it would be Casey Coleman who did well in his big-league callup but you have to wonder if he’s going to be able to maintain similar levels of performance.

Glancing at the AAA numbers for Cubs pitchers, there is not a single person that’s saying “now is my time.” Dempster is solid (though probably not a #1-2 like he is in our rotation), Zambrano is a perpetual question mark, Wells did so horribly last year that, sophomore slump or not, he can’t be counted on for much this year (fingers crossed for a rebound) and Silva, well, Silva is a pitcher who was so bad in Seattle that not only did they take Milton Bradley to get rid of him, they sent along a bag of money too.

That being the case, bringing in a veteran on a short-term contract is not a bad idea at all. Even with an expected signing of a veteran for the bullpen there is likely to be a lot of holes to fill in there that is going to have to come from the minor leagues, and basically three of the five starters the Cubs do have could fall apart into uselessness at any point. If you suck up whatever minor league depth you might have to fill spots unnecessarily in the offseason and something happens during the year, you’re completely and utterly boned. Better to bring somebody in, let the kids get another year of seasoning at AAA and see where they stand then and have them around if anything happens at the big league club. If you can bring a Webb in for a reasonable salary on some sort of 1+1 deal and hope for the best, I don’t think that’s a bad move. If he pans out, you can either keep him to be a legitimate top of the rotation starter or flip him for more prospects, and all it costs you is a bit of money on a team that even you admit is going nowhere this year.

firealyellon
4 years 8 months ago

flagged: too much analysis and not enough complaining and wild speculation

crunchy1
4 years 8 months ago

Hillarious!

crunchy1
4 years 8 months ago

Hillarious!

AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs
4 years 9 months ago

Vicente Padilla would be a very solid signing for the Cubs if he can repeat what he did in Dodgertown; I am not sure that he and Zambrano together is a good idea though.

They really don’t have any impact pitching in the farm either, several 4th-5th starters, but nobody with Top Of The Rotation potential.

Bob George
4 years 9 months ago

Jay Jackson is considered a top of the rotation guy. Their other SP prospects are middle of the rotation at best, at least AA and above. They are loaded in relief arms, especially rhrp. Moving Cashner back to the rotation, where the Cubs projected him until last Summer, (or Marshall) would free up a bullpen spot for another kid.

I just think this is a 75 win at best team. Spending money on a veteran SP and blocking a kid doesn’t help long term.

BlueCatuli
4 years 9 months ago

Chris Archer and Chris Carpenter are not middle of the rotation at best. Their stock is higher than Jay Jackson’s too.

4 years 9 months ago

If Webb can be signed at a cheap price it might not be that bad of a signing because then if he turns it around it turns out to be a pretty good signing

Bob George
4 years 9 months ago

The last I heard Webb was throwing in the very low 80’s. He’ll need to show some improvement before someone seriously talks contract.

firealyellon
4 years 8 months ago

yep, Webb seems to have a very steep hill to climb before he can be anywhere near an MLB starter

4 years 9 months ago

Meh. These types don’t excite me. If Kevin Millwood is going to improve your staff then you staff sucks to the point that you aren’t going to contend. The Cubs could use a starter, it’s just that the starter needs to be an ace type. Innings eaters are overrated. What good is throwing 200 innings if those innings aren’t good? Bullpen relief is all I can think of, that has value but if it’s coming at the cost of blocking a prospect,taking up payroll, or creating losses then it’s not helpful.

Webb, Bedard and a few others who have ace potential but also injuries and baggage might make sense as a low cost/high reward option for the Cubs but guys like Millwood should best be avoided. I don’t doubt that one of the Cubs prospects could do just about as well as him at a fraction of the cost.

jb226
4 years 9 months ago

It’s worth noting that the Cubs’ rotation wasn’t that bad last year, even with as many question marks as it had. They had a 4.04 FIP, tied around the middle of the pack with the Padres.

What killed the Cubs was lack of consistent offense and, probably moreso, the absolutely horrendous bullpen. The Cubs’ bullpen would have been the worst in the National League by a LONGSHOT if not for the Diamondbacks, who made them look positively dominant. The Cubs lost a LOT of 1-2 run games. Unfortunately the offense does not look to be much changed regardless of who they ultimately bring in to fill the hole at 1B. The bullpen should definitely get some attention and should be at least a little bit better, which is probably the biggest improvement the team is likely to see.

I support bringing in a veteran starting pitcher because I don’t think any of the kids are crying out that they’re ready yet and because three of the five starting pitching options the Cubs have (Zambrano, Wells and Silva) could fall apart into nothingness at the drop of a hat — but I don’t support it as an attempt to win now (ie, not bringing in an ace). I do like the idea of Webb, however, since if he bounces back he could be a nice piece to either keep or flip for prospects if we can get him on some sort of 1+1 contract with a decent amount of incentives.

4 years 9 months ago

The rotation was pretty good last year. Adding another guy is a great idea. The big issues last year was lack of speed, clutch hitting, and relief pitching.

These are things that can be turned around with 2 or 3 good moves. Look at all the 1 run games lost last year. The National League Central is not exactly brimming with powerhouses.

I think the Cubs can contend in 2011. I find it surprising that so many people are down on them.

Karsch
4 years 9 months ago

I doubt they have the offence too contend with the Reds or Cardinals.

jb226
4 years 9 months ago

The Cardinals don’t have the offense to contend with the Reds either. They’re buoyed almost entirely by their stellar starting pitching.

Karsch
4 years 9 months ago

Thats the last thing the Cubs need, more veterans…

bosoque
4 years 9 months ago

The Cubs are still around?

Bernaldo
4 years 9 months ago

If his pattern of a terrible year following a good year holds, Silva will be awful next season.

Rawlsian
4 years 9 months ago

I don’t know who’s dumber…….the team offering Vazquez 20 mil, or Vazquez turning down the 20 mil. The guy was terrible last year and barely warrants 4 million dollar deal.

Slopeboy
4 years 9 months ago

You’re not kidding, I would like to know who would offer Vasquez $20MM. I have a bridge I need to sell.

Slopeboy
4 years 9 months ago

You’re not kidding, I would like to know who would offer Vasquez $20MM. I have a bridge I need to sell.

4 years 9 months ago

Cliff Lee’s a Veteran.

jwsox
4 years 9 months ago

really hope thats sarcasim there is no way the cubs can afford him. and there is no way he would go there he probably wants to win very very badly after 2 straight years of post season beatings…

4 years 9 months ago

Outta all the guys they named I’d still take Webb. Hey we’ve dealt with injury prone players before. Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Wade Miller, Rich Harden, Scott Williamson, Chad Fox, to name a few. Lets just add Webb to the mix.

Dempster
Zambrano
Gorzelanny
Webb
Wells

SosaCrackers
4 years 8 months ago

and none of them worked out as planned, no thank you

SosaCrackers
4 years 8 months ago

and none of them worked out as planned, no thank you

NoHitr6
4 years 9 months ago

Doesn’t matter who the Cubs sign, they will NEVER win a World Series! And don’t they have first base, second base, relief pitching and a possible right fielder to worry about before starting pitching? Cubs suck…always have, always will

imacubsfananditsucks
4 years 9 months ago

always worry about starting pitching first

jb226
4 years 9 months ago

Stay classy friend!I’ve never understood all the hate the Cubs get around here. Are these boards just filled with Cardinals and White Sox fans, or do fans of terrible teams look to the Cubs’ WS drought as some sort of juvenile catharsis?

firealyellon
4 years 8 months ago

probably the latter as Cubs fans outnumber both Cards and Sox fans handily; i will say, catharsis is underrated though.

firealyellon
4 years 8 months ago

probably the latter as Cubs fans outnumber both Cards and Sox fans handily; i will say, catharsis is underrated though.

4 years 8 months ago

sox fans are bitter and shrewd and hate how their team is #2 in their city. Cubs will always get more attention and also more scrutiny. Face it sox fans nobody cares u r even alive !!!

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

sox fans are not bitter at all…fans like you are the reason there is a”rivalry” these two teams literally mean nothing to each other and a ton of sox fans that i know, and a lot of cubs fans. realize that…the 6 games they play against each other mean nothing in the long run…yes to the casual observer being a cubs fan is a fad and to be honest it it. wrigley is a huge beer garden that happens to have a baseball team there…and the cell is a baseball stadium that happens to serve beer…Look I’m a die hard sox fan, have been for a while but im not bitter about anything. What is there to be bitter about the fact that the cubs have year in and year out disappointed their fans? that year in and year out they choke and the fans have to blame a goat or a fan who reached for a ball (EVERY SINGLE FAN IN HIS AREA REACHED AS WELL AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE TAPE IT WAS AN OLDER WOMAN WHO HIT THE BALL FIRST……AND THE CUBS STILL HAD AT LEAST 6 OUT TO FINISH THE GAME AND THE COUDLNT SO THEY AND THE FANS BLAMED IT ON ANOTHER AN WHO DID WHAT EVERY SINGLE FAN WOULD HAVE DONE). Am i bitter about the fact that the baseball team i root for has actually won a world series in the last 100 years no not at all…there is nothing to be bitter about as a sox fan…yeah they dont get as much attention as the cubs but thats fine that means there are more FANS at the game and more FANS supporting the teams and less frat guys and sorority girls who dont care and no nothing there driving up the cost of beer and food and tickets….am i bitter that the cubs have the 3rd highest ticket prices in the game and have nothing to show for it? nope! Just because you are one of those “go cubs, die sox” fans does not make all of us like that at all…I actually llike the cubs, yeah every once and a while ill join in on some teasing friends who are cubs fans but its all in fun….so sorry bro there is nothing to be bitter about….Are the mets bitter that their team is #2 in their city or the dodgers bitter how they have to share with the angles doubtfull dont make stupid pig headed judgement calls based off an over played “rivalry”

jwsox
4 years 8 months ago

its not cubs hate its cubs GM hate there is a huge difference and it might be some cubs fan hate simply because a lot, not all, but a lot of cubs fans have no clue what their talking about and refuse to believe their team is bad and when the team is losing its a goats or a curses or bartmens fault and not the holyer-than-though cubs…

NoHitr6
4 years 9 months ago

Doesn’t matter who the Cubs sign, they will NEVER win a World Series! And don’t they have first base, second base, relief pitching and a possible right fielder to worry about before starting pitching? Cubs suck…always have, always will

imacubsfananditsucks
4 years 9 months ago

dempster is the most consistant pitcher on the staff and zambrano has the best stuff. gorzelanny and wells are nothing more than 4th and 5th starters. silva is absolutely useless though. i’d like to see the cubs give cashner a chance in the rotation, and maybe even archer if he dominates AAA the way he dominated in the minors last year. casey coleman also looked okay in his first experiences at the ml level. however, since neither of the them have ever pitched any significant time the majors as a starter, it might be wise to also add brandon webb on a one year deal.

webb will sign pretty cheap since he has not pitched in 2 years. which of course is a concern, but they are deep enough with questionable options throwing one more in the mix won’t hurt. worst case webb spends the year on the DL, and the cubs use a carousel of young arms like coleman, archer, cashner, szmardzjia. this would ben a good way to get all these guys experience starting at the major league level. best case scenario, webb pitches like the cy young pitcher he was for years.

mrmoss
4 years 9 months ago

Pretty solid is stretching it abit….and pretty solid doesnt win you anything either

cubfan4life
4 years 9 months ago

I watched Coleman pitch in 4 or 5 games last year and it seemed like just watching the games on TV he was nothing special. Not overpowering, no real wow breaking stuff, Just kind of meh all around. Could be a decent spot starter/long relief type but i wouldnt want to count on him to make 15-20 starts.

Out of all the SP left on the market none of them really jump out at me other than of course Lee but he isnt going to Chicago. Out of the guys listed Webb probably has the highest reward possibility. Correia could be a nice pickup but he is nothing more than a back of the rotation guy and i would rather let one of the younger guys have a fair shot at that spot before bringing in a FA for it. Then take the money you save and put it into a couple of veterans for the pen. Jesse Crain and Grant Balfour perhaps.

I think Wells will bounce back this year and win right around 13 games. Hopefully Silva throws like he did at the beginning of 2010 and stays healthy the whole year. Those 2 with Dempster and Zambrano is the rotation. Then you have Gorzelanny, Samardzija, Coleman, and Diamond compete for the last spot but also keep an eye on Jay Jackson. He wont start the year in the majors but could be up by the ASG depending on how he throws at AAA and injuries and such.