“We will have financial flexibility. We’ve been diligent to make sure we do have flexibility and we’re efficient going forward. We’ll obviously be active in the free agent market. That’s a big part of our research and work now is evaluating free agents. We have some money to spend and we’ll focus on it heavily.”
It appears that the Cubs aren't going to sit back passively while the team hits rock bottom. In my article, I talked about pitchers like Carlos Villanueva, Anibal Sanchez, Scott Baker, and a few of you have convinced me that Shawn Marcum could be part of that equation as well. Patrick Mooney of CSN mentions those same names while Doug Padilla takes it a step further and thinks the Cubs may pursue bigger names like Edwin Jackson and perhaps Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. There has been speculation that the Angels will not pick up the options on the latter two. I wouldn't rule that out. I think it's something the Cubs would consider, but likely only if it were a 2 year deal -- and certainly no more than 3 years.
Santana, 29, has had an off year, but his peripherals have been pretty steady, and the Cubs may be able to buy low. I'm a little wary of Haren, who has seen his velocity steadily decrease and now sits around 88-89 mph. He's not the same pitcher he was 3-4 years ago. I'm not saying the Cubs shouldn't consider signing the 32 year old, just that he can no longer be considered a front line starter and shouldn't be compensated as such. What he does do is throw strikes, something that should appeal to both Dale Sveum and the Cubs front office. He's probably a solid #3 these days.
Edwin Jackson, 29, is intriguing because his combination of a mid 90s fastball, nasty slider, and steadily improving control (2.63 walks/9 IP). He could be something more than a mid-rotation guy. What Jackson has sought unsuccessfully is some stability. Perhaps a 3 year deal might be enticing, even at a lesser annual salary.
Shawn Marcum, 31, is an oft-injured pitcher with lesser raw stuff than the players mentioned above. He has been successful, especially in the NL Central, so he remains an option as well, particularly on an incentive-laden short term deal.
The speculation is that the Cubs will go after these kinds of pitchers but they won't go after big name stars like Zack Greinke. Whomever they decide to pursue, and possibly sign, it's apparent that the Cubs are not satisfied with sitting back passively and losing. They'll be active when it comes to acquiring talent and trying to improve the club through any and all available avenues.
“All the money will go back into the team in one form or another,” Hoyer said, “whether it’s things that can help us in the future, whether it’s free agents, whether it’s keeping money aside for the next free-agent class.
“All the money that baseball operations as a whole is given is always going to go back to the club.”
It should be a fun offseason as we'll see the Cubs active in their pursuit to improve the ballclub -- and we should frequently hear the Cubs in conjunction with some of the better mid-level free agents available, particularly starting pitching.
Filed under: Free Agency