It shouldn’t be a big surprise, but – right or wrong – the Chicago Cubs are not focused on the fifth starter (or fourth starter, while Ted Lilly recovers from shoulder surgery) role right now, believing internal candidates could successfully fill the role. Instead, the Cubs are focusing on the need for a fourth outfielder (legitimate) and another right-handed reliever – where the Cubs have even more internal candidates than they do for fifth starter. But whatever.
We’ve heard the Cubs described elsewhere as the leading contender for Ben Sheets. But we’ve gotten the impression that they’ve actually back-burnered Sheets for now.
Agents for other players they’ve talked to consistently report the Cubs want to address two other priorities first: a set-up arm (Kiko Calero? Chan Ho Park?) and a fourth-outfielder type (Jermaine Dye? Reed Johnson? Jonny Gomes? Xavier Nady? Fernando Tatis?). They would only turn back to other needs after those two areas are taken care of. Jayson Stark – ESPN.
Let’s hope the Cubs don’t take too long to make these decisions, then.
Also, that adds a couple of names to the outfielder and reliever search – Fernando Tatis and Chan Ho Park, respectively. Neither is likely to knock your socks off, and would seem to be fall-back options from the primary candidates. Further, this seems like Jayson Stark tossing out free agent names that may fit, rather than names who’ve actually been attached to the Cubs. Should the latter occur, we’ll give the two a full write-up.