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.