Add another potential reclamation project to the list of Cubs targets this Winter: Erik Bedard. As noted in the comments, and by Bruce Levine on Talkin’ Baseball on ESPN 1000 (h/t CCO), because of the budgetary restrictions, and generally full rotation, the Cubs could look at a high-upside, coming-off-injury-type pitcher this Winter like Bedard.
Like Webb, Bedard has been absolutely dominant in his MLB career. And like Webb, Bedard is still just 31. But like Webb, Bedard hasn’t pitched much in the last two years. After managing just 81 innings in 2008, and 83 in 2009, Bedard sat out all of 2010 while he rehabbed from a torn labrum. He had another surgery in August, and it’s unclear how ready he’d be to even try to pitch come Spring Training.
Levine also indicated that the Cubs have some interest in outfielder Brad Hawpe, in part due to his ability to play a little bit of first base (he played in nine games there last year). After struggling a bit in the first half of the year last year with the Rockies, Hawpe was DFA’d and signed with the Rays, where he stunk. Still, it’s not like you have to go into the way-back machine to find a time when Hawpe was good – he had an OPS over .900 in 2009. Before that, he was consistently solid.
And if you’re thinking that Hawpe was simply a product of playing at Coors Field, think again: he sports a career .886 OPS at home, but an equally impressive .839 OPS on the road. He does, however, have a pretty dramatic lefty/righty split (he has a career .890 OPS against righties, but just .760 OPS against lefties). That might not be a concern for a team looking for some lefty pop, however.
If the Cubs give Hawpe a serious look, you can consider him this year’s Xavier Nady (relatively low cost bench signing because of recent problems, but with a consistently good historical track record as a starter). With, um, hopefully better results.