For weeks I’ve contended that the Chicago Cubs, rather than focusing on the bullpen, should be looking to pick up another starting pitcher. With Ted Lilly laid up following shoulder surgery (notice how his return ETA keeps getting pushed back? It’s now been reported that early May is “optimistic”), and Rich Harden off to Texas, the Cubs rotation to start the year is Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, and then two question marks.
That said, the kind of pitcher I had in mind was a Jon Garland type – consistently good, if not great, but reliable, veteran, and somewhat inexpensive.
But if the Cubs instead are wanting to take a run at a guy who offers incredibly high upside together with the risk of injury… ah, what the hell. Go for it: the Cubs are actively pursuing pitcher Ben Sheets.
General manager Jim Hendry declined to comment, but he spoke to Sheets’ agent at the winter meetings in Indianapolis and major-league sources say the Cubs are one of Sheet’s preferred destinations.
Sheets reportedly has been asking for a two-year deal averaging around $10 million to $12 million per year, but the Cubs believe they have a good shot at landing him with an incentive-laden deal.
The 31-year-old right-hander, who spent his entire career with the Brewers, has a history of injuries, including arm and back problems, an inner-ear infection and blisters. He missed the 2009 season following elbow surgery. chicagotribune.com.
As the offseason drags on without serious rumors attached to Sheets’ name, things only look better for the Cubs. It is possible that no team is willing to offer a good deal of guaranteed money. If that’s the case, the Cubs have as good a shot as any team at landing Sheets.
Let’s just hope that Sheets agrees to provide his medical records to the Cubs before they make any kind of serious commitment.