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The Chicago Cubs have finally started looking externally for solutions to their bullpen woes. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs hosted free agent Braden Looper late yesterday in Chicago (though the team is on the road in New York, so it’s unclear for whom he threw).

Looper, 35, could not find work in the offseason after a 2009 season that saw him go 14-7 for the Brewers… with a 5.22 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. It was the third consecutive disappointing season for Looper – not coincidently, the third straight season after being converted to a starter.

Before that, Looper was a very effective reliever for the Cardinals, Mets and Marlins. You could generally count on him for an ERA in the mid-3s, and a WHIP around 1.3. The Cubs, obviously, would gleefully take those numbers in their pen.

If the Cubs take the plunge, you’d have to imagine it will be a minor league deal, where Looper will be given a chance to prove he’s in MLB-ready shape at AAA Iowa.

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