Reliever John Grabow, whom the Chicago Cubs acquired midseason, has said openly that he’d like to return to the Cubs next year. The Cubs, in turn, would like to have him back, but at what price and for how long? Well, here’s a clue on the how long part:

The left-hander is looking for a three-year deal and wants to return. The Cubs aren’t worried about bone chips in his elbow and are likely to give it to him.

The Cubs do not exactly have a shining history of handing out multiyear deals to relievers – fans may not have the most fond memories of Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, Mike Remlinger, Mark Guthrie, LaTroy Hawkins… the list goes on. Some of their failures were due to misuse, but still.

It’s always been an area that is a risk to spend much money because of the general truth about middle relievers: if he was a good pitcher, he’d be a starter; and if he was a good pitcher but couldn’t start, he’d be a closer. And there is no such thing as a consistent dominant setup man. Those guys either fall off the map within a year or two, or become closers.

The same Tribune article speculates on the futures of role players Jake Fox and Mike Fontenot. And neither future is with the Cubs.

Jake Fox has no future with the Cubs and likely will be traded. Koyie Hill and Andres Blanco likely will return, though Mike Fontenot’s future with the organization is in doubt after the impressive play of Jeff Baker.

Fontenot certainly feels superfluous, but he was so good off the bench in 2008 that it should give the Cubs pause before unloading him.

As for Fox, the Cubs should be sure to get good value if they’re going to move him – given his salary and long-term control, he could be invaluable to a smaller market club. I am not convinced, however, that the Cubs won’t want to keep Fox when considering Alfonso Soriano’s struggles, and the uncertainty in right field.

  • xolager

    I’m trting to figure out how the Cubs can get equal or superior value back in any alleged Fox trade? I doubt they’d be able to swindle some team for an impact middle infielder or center fielder. I’m a Fox fan and would like to see him get a shot at playing every day, but he has a lot of value as a big stick off the bench for the Cubs – and his price is right. He does seem like an AL guy, though.

  • xolager

    I’m *trting*? Yikes!

    • Ace

      No biggy. I trt all the time. I had a big lunch.

  • savant

    To me a Baker/Fontenot platoon makes to much sense to ever be considered.

    • Ace

      Do you think that gets Baker enough at bats, though?

  • Lok

    Trading Fox? Srsly? Ugh..

    It’s not like we’re stacked with prospects people. And considering how he was batting clean up in a $140m line-up.. maybe we should take a step back and consider cutting our losses w/ some of THAT mess, rather than cut ties with a future…

    I’m about done w/ Hendry..

    • Ace

      I wouldn’t get too worked up just yet, Lok. Although Fox will certainly be the subject of some offseason discussions, it is not as though the Cubs will be in full on dump mode with him.

      Ha. Full on dump.

      • Lok

        Yeah, I hear ya Ace. It’s just that I had such high expectations this year and to not even come CLOSE to a playoff is rather disheartening. I’m a die-hard fan, so I know what the organization is capable of, and seeing rumors like this be floated about just gets me down.. :(

      • xolager

        “Ha. Full on dump.”

        You’ve been trting again…

        • Ace

          Freaking Chipotle.