The Chicago Cubs have been looking to add a starting pitcher all winter, but so far, it’s been much ado about nothing. They whiffed on Zack Greinke and Brandon Webb, never had a chance on Jorge De Le Rosa, never tried on Cliff Lee, and have yet to be able to put something together for Matt Garza.
But there’s still plenty to discuss, even if it’s just a bunch of gum flappin':
- Jim Hendry views Matt Garza as a difference maker, so he’ll keep trying to land the rigthy as long as the Rays are willing to talk about him.
- If the Cubs don’t add Garza or another sure-thing starter, Andrew Cashner is the heavy favorite to get the first crack at the fifth starter spot. They may then look to find rotation spots for other young guys like Chris Archer and Chris Carpenter later in the season (take from that what you will).
- Relatedly, if another starter isn’t happening, the Cubs may look to add another reliever, either via free agency or by way of trade with the Blue Jays for Jason Frasor (sigh).
- No surprise: teams aren’t interested in Carlos Silva, even for a handful of bucks, because of his terrible and injury-filled second half.
- John Grabow is working hard in Mesa right now, is healthy, and expects to turn things around after being embarrassed last year.
- Fausto Carmona remains a remote possibility, but talks apparently haven’t passed the preliminary stage.
- Jeff Samardzija will be considered for the fifth starter’s spot, but that’s going to be a tough job to win – and he’s out of options. It could be a sticky situation.
- Tom Gorzelanny remains available, despite the fact that the Cubs are looking to add a starter. The possible reason to move him may have less to do with his perceived value, and more to do with the Cubs’ fear that he may not be effective over the course of a full season (first I’ve heard of this).
Speaking of pitchers, as rumored near the outset of the Winter, the Cubs are kicking the tires – along with a number of other teams – on Jeff Francis. You’ll recall that Francis missed all of 2009 before throwing an uninspiring half-season in 2010. Unlike Webb, he’s not seeing a lot of guaranteed offers thrown his way, and as long as he’s willing to consider minor league deals or ML minimum deals, the Cubs will probably consider him right back.