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Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry continues his search for a right-handed veteran reliever, and one name that has popped up from time to time is Kiko Calero. It’s popping up again because the Cubs are interested if the money is right.

Calero, 35, is a free agent after putting together a very good 2009 season with the Florida Marlins. He went 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA in 67 appearances.

It can be said with certainty that few available relievers are coming off a better year. His 60 innings were a career high, even though he missed roughly three weeks with inflammation in his right (throwing) shoulder.

More than anything, that shoulder probably explains why Calero hasn’t been signed already. He was also sidelined by a torn rotator cuff in 2008, when he made only five big-league appearances with Oakland.

The Cubs are among the teams that have checked on Calero, two major league sources said Tuesday. But their interest is probably contingent on how confident their medical officials are in the health of Calero’s shoulder.

While the Cubs are committed to Carlos Marmol as their closer, they would like to add another late-inning reliever, the sources said. FOX Sports on MSN.

The market for a guy with dominating 2009 numbers has been surprisingly thin; obviously this is based on the shoulder issues. Hence, from the Cubs perspective, if the money is right, they’ll happily take a chance on Calero (as they should).

But counting on him would be a tremendous mistake.

  • http://fantasybaseballhotstove.blogspot.com Mark

    It’s the same time of year that Abreu was signed by the Angels last year. Not that Calero and Abreu should be compared to each other, but I’m just saying there are some players available who will likely not go for much money and can help teams out there.

    • Ace

      Absolutely, Mark. It’s generally been Hendry’s MO to sign guys early in the off-season, which in a tenuous market, isn’t always a great strategy. I’d be pleased for him to pick over the leftovers bin.

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