From the dawn of time – or the Jim Hendry era – the Chicago Cubs have been obsessed with signing aging middle relievers and set-up men to multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts. Scott Eyre, LaTroy Hawkins, Mike Remlinger, Mark Guthrie, Bobby Howry… the list goes on and on.
And I would like you to point to one of those signings – just one – that wasn’t ultimately regretted.
So here we are again: the Cubs are looking to resign reliever John Grabow to a big money deal.
The two sides are talking about a two-year deal for anywhere between a total of $6.5 million and $7.5 million. Grabow’s people would like a vesting option for a third year added to the contract.
Also, certain incentives will be built into the package that will include games finished.
The Cubs have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents until 10 days after the World Series, when eligible players can declare free agency. ESPN Chicago.
In general, pitchers become relievers because they can’t be consistent, successful starters. In general, relievers become middle relievers and set-up men because they can’t be consistent, successful closers. Maybe it’s unfair to lump Grabow in with that group, and maybe he’ll be a success.
But the guy has had two good years – 2008 and 2009. Before that, he was exactly what makes a guy a reliever: mediocre. Heck, even his 2009 campaign could have been much worse. His 1.41 WHIP was in line with his mediocre career mark of 1.48, and you would have thus expected his ERA to be much closer to his career ERA of 4.03. Are those the numbers of a top set-up man?