Jim Hendry’s never-ending quest to add a “veteran” “right-handed” arm to the bullpen has turned toward the lower cost end of the spectrum, which is a good thing.

Hendry — whether via trade or free agency — wants to add a veteran bullpen pitcher. Former White Sox right-hander Jose Contreras has been a part of Cubs talks with agent Jaime Torres.

Contreras would bring a certain amount of protection for the team, considering the unknown status and availability of rehabbing left-hander Ted Lilly, who underwent shoulder surgery in November. He may not be at full strength until mid or late April. And that’s where Contreras comes in.

After the Sox shipped Contreras to Colorado in late August, he had solid numbers — 1.59 ERA in 17 innings pitched — in helping the Rockies reach the playoffs. Listed at age 39, his real age is could be anywhere from 40-45, nonetheless the Cubs are looking at him as protection for Lilly, and also to push the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the iffy bottom of the rotation. ESPN Chicago.

Contreras would likely not net a large contract – he’d get a one-year deal for minimal cost, or perhaps even just a minor league deal and Spring Training invite. Either way, the risk to the Cubs is small, and the upside is solid. Even though he was bad enough with the White Sox last year to get dumped, he was still better than Carlos Silva. Before that, he was simply good in his time with the White Sox. In a swing role, he could be valuable to the Cubs.

Then again, so could Sean Marshall, Tom Gorzelanny, Mike Parisi, and the list goes on – with the lesson being: don’t spend much money to add a player like this.

  • Kevin Gallo

    I see on MLBTRADETRUMORS.com that the interest in grossly over stated. There is the quote “A report from ChicagoBreakingSports.com notes that recent acquisition Carlos Silva will likely fill the role of long reliever for the club, making Contreras an unlikely fit in Chicago. Furthermore, the 38-year-old will likely attract better offers from teams that see him as a starter.

    As for Spilborghs, a major league source told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that reports of the Cubs’ interest in him are overstated. Renck’s gut feeling tells him that the Rockies’ asking price will be too high to get a deal done.”

  • juniorbors

    Dont know why you would trade away players to fill a role that free agent, Reed Johnson has done nicely when healthy. I know the yanks want Reed but I cant believe he would be asking for more than 1 @ 3mil. Dependent upon what happens with the outfield situation, center specifically, what is Xavier Nady asking price? When does it become a matter of leaving Fukodome in center and exploring a Nady or Dye in right instead?

    • Ace

      I don’t know that it ever becomes that – both Hendry and Piniella have stated adamantly that they do not want Fuk in CF next year.