Whether it’s an upside play or an attempt to re-stock the bullpen after (theoretically) dealing Sean Marshall, the Chicago Cubs are expected to sign righty reliever Manny Corpas to a one-year deal after a physical in Chicago today. The deal, it appears, is a guaranteed Major League deal, rather than a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite.

Corpas, 29, didn’t pitch in 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2010. Before the surgery, Corpas’ once-dominant form – 232 ERA+ in 78 innings in 2007 – had faded to average, at best. Perhaps it was a lingering elbow issue that the surgery cleared up. But, if so, the problem lingered from 2008 to 2010 without anyone addressing the problem. That is to say: it’s possible Corpas simply became a mediocre pitcher.

Before I grouse about a minor move like this one, I should say that I’m sure the Cubs worked out Corpas, and I’m sure they saw things they liked. Corpas is obviously about as bounce-backy as a bounce-back candidate can get. Over their careers, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have been exceedingly good at identifying guys like that.


A Major League deal and 25-man roster spot for a guy who hasn’t pitched in over a year and hasn’t pitched well in four years? Even if the flashes of talent are still there, it seems like he should have to prove it, rather than be handed a spot that could otherwise go to one of the many young middle relief candidates the Cubs have in the upper minors. Because I trust Theo’s and Jed’s instincts, and because we don’t yet know what other roster reshaping may be done, it’s unfair to complain too loudly. So I won’t.

Still, it seems an odd move, in isolation.

  • Ashley

    I really don’t know how I feel about this deal! I don’t know much about him and so I really don’t know waht to expect from him!

  • Zach

    Does he have to be on the 25 man roster or is he able be sent to the minors?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t believe he has an option year left, but I could be wrong. I know the Rockies used at least two on him, and I doubt they would have released him if he still had an option left. Anyone know an easy way to find out if a guy has options left? In the past, it’s been notoriously difficult to figure out on the fly.

  • Deer

    All I want for christmas is the Cubs to sign just one guy actually coming off a good year. I guess that’s asking a lot

  • colocubfan

    I don’t mind a couple of this “upside” guys, but this is getting ridiculous! Teams have enough injury problems during the year without having most of the roster made up of guys coming off injury!

  • KidCubbie

    In Theo we trust.

  • MC2

    Or is he able to go directly into the closer role as Marmol is dealt away… …stay tuned!


    • Brian Myers

      Of course, I would doubt a 1 year deal to net a closer coming off Tommy John surgery was the thought process. He’s a cheap, experienced arm that can be thrown into the mix of 26+/- pitchers on the 40 man roster. It’s almost like they’ve decided to throw a dozen+ guys at 5 or 6 spots and hope 4 or 5 (40% ish) of them are actually Major League capable at the start of the year.

  • Katie

    You know what I’m dreading most of all? All the “boycott the Cubs” comments we are going to get tonight.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The horror…

      • Katie

        And I’m sure someone will claim their source told them about this one days ago.

  • Dave

    Think you may have a typo there Brett.  I don’t think Corpas had his TJS in September, 2011.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Gracias. It would have been a REALLY questionable signing…

      • Dave

        Yeah, like Chad Fox part deux.

  • KidCubbie

    TJS in 2010.

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    Theo, y u no sign good players?

    Ugh. Maybe it’s just cause I live in Colorado, but I feel like we are turning into a team full of Rockies rejects. We have Jeff Baker, Ian Stewart, and now Manny Corpas who the Rockies released after 2010 and ate the $3.75MM they still owed him. We’re looking at possibly signing Jeff Francis too. Maybe next we’ll put together a little package to make a trade for Todd Helton so he can play 1B? Only kidding of course, but holy cow!

    It’s like we are the Island Of Misfit Toys…

    • Rick Vaughn

      Eventually we’ll just ship them off to our other AAA affiliate…Baltimore

  • Gcheezpuff

    I think Theo and Jed’s plan is to sign a bunch of guys like this, low risk and high reward. If this guy pitches descent he can be dealt at the deadline for a prospect. The CBA screwed up the original plan so the new stragedy, in a year when no one expects you to compete, why not sign a bunch of potential bounce back free agents that can potentially have value at the trade deadline? The one thing the cubs have is money and with the new CBA how else can they quickly rebuild? Stockpile free agents with the plan to trade them later. This is by no means a guarantee, but if it is what they plan to do, it could pay off.

    • Wilbur


  • Kernzee

    Room for Corpas ? No room for Kerry Wood ? God I sure hope not !!!

  • Mayor1969

    There is no downside to this move. If he sucks, he’s cheap and easily released. If he’s good, then there’s no problem. Absolutely no reason to bitch or moan about this.

    • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

      Yes. And assuming they worked him out, if they saw something, why lowball the guy with a minor league offer? He has closing experience and someone somewhere will overpay for that.

  • Aaron

    I think it’s clear people are really starting to get frustrated with Theo/Jed this offseason. We had such high hopes for this to be the year – although from the start no one in the organization even HINTED that we would compete in 2012. The team they’re putting together may surprise us all. One thing to remember, take away the injuries and Marmol’s blown saves last year, and we could have been a .500 team. That seems like a simple enough fix… Right?…. Right?

    • Brian Myers

      The Cubs were also dead last in fielding, 25th in ERA, 18th in runs scored.

      With the moves they’ve made so far, the Cubs went from an average age of 27.8 (which would be the 3rd oldest team in baseball at this moment) to 26.7 (the 11th youngest or 20th oldest, depending on your point of view).


      … that doesn’t make them better, but the added pitching, lower salaries, better fielding and younger age sure gives you perspective on the direction they are heading.

      • 2much2say

        Average Age? What was Texas’s average? St. Louis? Milwaukee?Yankees?

        • Brian Myers

          Age tells you two things: The ability to improve and the likelihood of a decline.

          The age of the teams you mention isn’t a major factor. Why? Because they have players that have reached their peak and many will stay at it for a while. But if your average age is “old” by league standards and your club, position by position, is below average by league standards the odds of your team as a whole IMPROVING is greatly reduced. Once you reach age 30 few players get better.

          Who are the Cubs older stars? Wood & Dempster: age 34. Zambrano 30. Pena 33. Aramis was in his 30’s. Soriano 35, Byrd 34.

          How many of these guys are going to raise their game? It’s unlikely ANY of them would. How many of them are an elite player? A strong arguement can be made that NONE of the current Cubs in that age group are elite. Very good, yes, elite, no.

          There are not enough good, affordable, older players available that the Cubs could land them without over paying and gain immediate quality. Their current crop of older players are simply not good enough without a deeper core of players. To get what they need at a budget they can afford, getting younger is critical and vital.

          • EQ76

            eh… it’s more about how good the players actually are also. I mean, that list of 30 somethings isn’t exactly a group of hall of famers…

  • Dave

    If this is a precursor to trading Marmol for some decent prospects, I’m all for it.  If its a bullpen depth move, I can’t complain too much.

  • JR

    I still keep thinking that Theo’s ego is too big to allow the Cubs to truly suck in 2012.. But i could be wrong.

  • lance

    I just hope the real fans cause an uproar at the convention the likes the cubs have never seen

    • Wilbur

      “I just hope the real fans cause an uproar at the convention the likes the cubs have never seen”

      To what end? They should have raised an uproar of frustration the last two years.

      Now there is a strategy that has multiple moving parts, of which we’re seeing several parts being played out now. If there is an uproar it should be one of thankfulness that finally decisions are being made on baseball value versus whatever constituted the previous decision process.

      • Lou

        Look man. People pay for star power. Yes, I know, I know, the sabremetric folks are going to talk to me about Fielder WAR and how it won’t help anything. But people do really like a little excitement with their team. As I said in previous post, the season could be over by May. And I totally expect the comments of big trades for the Cubs to come in Feb and March and a statement like “The season starts in April, you fool.” to follow this one.

        • EQ76

          Well also, Ian Stewart, Dejesus, and Corpas don’t exactly feel like moves a team trying to do ANYTHING would make. The frustration to me is that all 3 of these moves could come back to bite us in the ass.. they could easily all 3 suck next year again and then what? that’s the chance you take with signing guys like this.. but so far this team is far worse this year than last.

  • Alex

    Hey Brett,

    Any word on Robert Whitenack since his TJ surgery? He is one of the pitching prospects I hope rises quickly once he’s fully recovered.

  • lance

    Just to let rickets know they are pissed with throat lack of moves

  • cubsnivy56

    I really hope you are right……..

  • cubsklm

    My patience is running thin here.

    We bring deJesus in for the holidays. Run the Marshall out town. Acquire the wrong Wood.
    And we have a 3rd basemen who hit zero homers last year.

    My only logic is that Theo & Jed are upgrading the staff at McDonalds across the street before turning their attention to the Cubs roster.

    If Corpas is truly healed, he should be able to sling a nasty burger! After all it is fast food.
    Head Fry cook to be announced later this week.

    When are we going to start “adding assets”?

    • JR

      Ha… good stuff cubsklm.

  • Mayor1969

    The rampant stupidity never ceases to amaze me. Not every move is meant to bring in Babe Ruth or Sandy Koufax. This is going to take some time. Let TheoCo do their jobs for Christ’s sake.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat


      • Wilbur

        Totally …

        • EQ76

          yeah, but not ever move should look like Manny Mendoza either.

    • JR

      Chill Mayor.. I don’t think anyone believes each move needs to be earth shattering. But at the same time it would be nice to have 1 or 2 pickups to get excited about. And hopefully they will soon. I think we all know Hendry ran the oranization into the ground. But give us something Theo…

    • CubSouth

      Mayor1969, please refrain from saying “rampant stupidity”, we all are here for one reason and that’s to show our feelings toward the Cubs as fans. Do not use the Lord’s name in vain please as well. I have been a lifelong fan, albeit, 24 yrs but I have a say as well. There are a number of fans who are upset and frustrated with the way things are going, I know things take time but you have to look at the other side of the glass and see how people who lost jobs or are going thru hard times feel when the only thing that they may look forward to during the summer is Cubs baseball and now feel that has been stripped from them. So please, give some heart and not always look at it from ur perspective.

    • art

      Ditto. i don’t remember Theo saying we’d win in 2012.

      • Kyle

        He did say that “Every season is a chance to win, and every chance to win is sacred.”

        But almost everything he says is just lawyer-speak anyway for “I have to say something because it’s my job to talk to the press but I’m not really going to tell you anything about my plans.”

        • JR

          Are u saying Theo went to the Bill Belichick school of not saying sh$t to the press? I think so.. Theo is so secretive that Jed probably doesnt know what is going on either.

    • EWood


  • 2much2say

    The only guy we missed out on was Darvish. Let’s hope Fielder Cespedes Soler and a trade fixes things.

  • lance

    He isn’t doing his job he was brought in to sign all stars not bums

  • 2much2say

    on the 4th day of Xmas Theo gave to me 4 unknown prospects 3 minor trades 2 Tommy Johns and a Fielder in a pear tree

  • Mayor1969

    Thank you for ENTIRELY proving my point, JR. We don’t need moves to be “excited” about, especially since we likely won’t get one. We need TheoCo to build from the ground up in every aspect of the organization from drafting to development to finances and so on. One “exciting” move means shit. We need many, many small moves that add up down the line.

    • JR

      I agree with that for the most part. But no one want a historically bad team on their watch, and at this pt. that is exactly what the Cubs are looking like in 2012.

    • Kyle

      You are allowed to do both. MLB isn’t going to say “Oops, you made too many big moves, you are blocked from doing any small ones.”

  • Joepoe321

    Tony campana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kyle

    Meh. Whatever. I really don’t care who sits in the back of the bullpen, so if this is who they want, I trust them.

  • goatbusters


  • Chris

    I love this move! Corpas still has potential, and Theo obviously sees that too. I’m kinda upset about the Marshall deal, because I don’t expect the minor leaguers to be anything special (or they’d already be announcing names), but everything else has looked pretty good IMO. Stewart, DeJesus and Corpas all have something to prove after down years. I expect to see Theo trade them after this year (if they perform better). It’s like a buy low, sell high deal. Do you really think Theo expects these guys I be part of our future? Absolutely not!

    • Gcheezpuff

      Couldn’t agree more. It’s the exact point I was making earlier, sign Low risk FAs coming off down years or injury with the plan to trade them later for prospects if they rebound. I am not understanding all the uproar considering Theo’s plan the whole time has been to build from the ground up. If everyone wants the Cubs to try and patch the team together with expensive Free Agent veterans why did we even get rid of Hendry?!?!? Even with Fielder, the Cubs won’t compete for 2 years and in 2 years Votto might be available if someone else hasn’t claimed the position. I don’t expect Theo/Jed to write a contract longer then 3 years on any free agents and I don’t expect to see any no trade clauses.