More wood on the Cubs-won’t-get-any-big-names fire from Gordon Wittenmyer. No real surprises, as Wittenmyer sees the Cubs going after guys like Kevin Millwood, Javier Vazquez, and Jake Westbrook for the rotation, rather than a guy like Cliff Lee. Though Wittenmyer doesn’t say so, you can throw Jon Garland into that mix. From my perspective, the Cubs would be best served waiting the entire starting pitching market out, and if any of those middle tier guys is still looking for work come February, the Cubs can toss a one-year offer out there. Otherwise, the team’s in-house back-end options are probably not much worse.
In the bullpen, Gordon thinks Kerry Wood will stay with the Yankees, and the Cubs will look at Grant Balfour or the previously-rumored target (and still overrated) Jason Frasor. The Cubs can’t count on John Grabow returning to health or effectiveness next year, so a steady, veteran reliever is probably a fair target. But again, there’s no sense throwing good money after bad: the Cubs should wait until the market sorts itself out, rather than leading it.
At first base, Adrian Gonzalez remains the primary (and most-realistic) big-name target, but the Cubs may have to settle for a Nick Johnson, Adam LaRoche, or Lyle Overbay, who they can get on a one-year deal. The Cubs are fortunate that at first base, like their other positions of need, there are a number of options this winter. But, like their other positions of need, the options aren’t altogether attractive.
Ultimately, the Cubs may be best served cobbling together a bunch of one-year deals, letting the season play out as it will, and regrouping in 2012.