The Chicago Cubs were already rumored to add a lefty reliever before Ted Lilly went down with a shoulder injury, but now that he’s out for perhaps a month, the need to add another arm seems even more pressing.
The Cubs have been talking to a number of teams, including Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, about obtaining a left-hander for the bullpen. The Lilly injury could necessitate moving Sean Marshall from the bullpen back into the rotation. The problem with Marshall leaving the bullpen is that it makes manager Lou Piniella vulnerable to lefty-righty late-inning moves without a reliable left-hander in the ‘pen.
The Cubs have had conversations with the Pirates about left-hander John Grabow, one of the best left-handed set-up men in the league. A bigger trade with Pittsburgh, for a starter like Zach Duke or Tom Gorzelanny, may be the right avenue to follow with the loss of Lilly.
Other starting pitchers available right now, according to league sources, are Cleveland’s Carl Pavano and two Arizona pitchers, left-hander Doug Davis and former Cubs No. 1 draft pick, right-hander Jon Garland. ESPN Chicago.
We’ve discussed the available lefty relievers before, but have not focused on the available starters, because there was never a spot for one. Of those mentioned here, Gorzelanny is probably the most intriguing – if not the most attractive, as he hasn’t started this year. Duke can be dominant at times, but is prone to fits of awfulness. He’s been very good of late, and would cost quite a bit for a rental.
There should be very little interest in continued Carl Pavano reclamation project. Doug Davis is fairly consistent with an ERA right around 4.00. Garland has always been overrated, but can be counted on eat innings, and give you an ERA around 4.50.
All told, none should be particularly enticing to this Chicago Cubs club, unless there is a concern that Lilly will not return at all this year, or that Ryan Dempster might not be the same when he returns from his broken toe.