As if signing reliever John Grabow to a two year $7 million contract was not enough indignity for a team approaching its budget limitations and with needs in the infield, the outfield, and at the back-end of the rotation, the Chicago Cubs are now interested in signing another big money reliever.


According to Sponichi, Takashi Saito has eight teams interested, including the White Sox, Cubs, Braves and Mets. The Braves had some interest in Saito way back in 2002 but he wound up remaining with Yokohama. NPB Tracker .

Saito has been very good in four big-league seasons, but will be 40 years old next year, and will command between $1.5 and $6 million this year – I know, that’s a huge range, but I’m sacrificing a narrow guess for accuracy: that range comes from the $1.5 million he made in 2009 (he’ll get more) and the $6 million option the Red Sox held on him and declined (he’ll get less).

For a team whose bullpen currently stands at about 20, and whose pen was NOT the problem last year, Saito seems like an elderly luxury. Sure, most of those 20 options are youngsters, but that’s where successful teams find their middle relievers.

Even hinting at signing Saito for some $3 or 4 million, signing Grabow to the same, and then in the same breath saying that there isn’t enough money to offer Rich Harden – the number 4 starter on a team without a clear 4 or 5 starter to start the season – arbitration insults our intelligence and our fandom.

  • pygreg

    Um…perhaps the theory is our bullpen blew us a lot of games last year because it sucked, so spending money to shore it up brings us a fair number of wins? Or perhaps the management is just stupid?

    • Ace

      I’ll take door number two.

      Spending money to shore up the pen has been the MO for literally years now. And it hasn’t worked yet.

  • jstraw

    The pen might not have been THE problem last year but it sure as hell was A problem. I’m not saying this makes any sense…it doesn’t but dude…

    • Ace

      Tallest midget and all that, I guess; but relative to the offense, I just have a hard time seeing the pen as such a big problem. It wasn’t good. But it doesn’t merit the two biggest money moves of the offseason (still a LONG ways to go, and this is all hypothetical, of course).

      • jstraw

        The lack of offense was a chronic condition and certainly the bigger problem but I can’t count how many times Elvis sat here bustin’ caps into my flatscreen with Cotts or Gregg on the bump.

        • Ace

          Fair enough. As is always the easy solution with the 2009 Cubs: it all pretty much sucked.