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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.

But.

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.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Let me try again.

    There seems to be more weird people getting on the site.

    Better?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I was just messin’.

      But we’ve always had weirdos, yours truly included.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Haha yeah I know. I know, and I know.

  • ty

    take a good look at that photo and with that flyout motion no wonder T J surgery was needed.
    but as we all know that surgery can be very successful.

  • ottoCub

    It’s becoming clear that the Cubs are in total re-build mode, and looking forward to next winter when Zambrano, Dempster, and Byrd come off the books and the Cubs will have a sum of money to spend on free agents.

    Looking at the moves and non-moves this off-season: the Cubs are signing reclamation projects to short-term inexpensive major league contracts. All the players they’ve signed or traded for, if they have come-back years, will be excellent supporting players when the Cubs make a move in the future. And if they don’t play well, their contracts are small enough that the Cubs won’t break the bank paying them as utility subs. It’s clear that every player is up for trade discussion, and the Cubs are looking for short-term major league contracts, players they control for years to come, and quality prospects in return. They’re building for the future, and this makes total sense.

    Theo, Jed, and the new gang want to change the culture in the Cubs organization, building long-term consistent success. They are breaking away from the Jim Hendry approach to buy a few stand-outs every year, hoping that will be the lucky year. The moves and non-moves of this off-season are calculated, cost-saving, long-term, smart moves. The Cubs may not be a better team in 2012, but they will be a better Organization.

    • Iron Mullet

      Couldn’t have wrote it better myself

  • 2much2say

    12 front office guys / 11 million too much for Mcdonalds /10 players to trade / 9 new coaches / 8 missed Free Agents / 7 better bids for Darvish / 6 Teams left for Garza / 5 Years for Fielder/ 4 years left for Theo / 3 Tommy Johns / 2 Cuban prospects and a Championship in a 100 more years

  • Ogyu

    Call me naive, but it seems to me that if you fill your roster with candidates to bounce back from crummy performances, there is a small chance that you may find a bargain or two, but a much larger chance that you will field a very crummy team.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I can’t call you naive.

  • MoneyBoy

    Brett … I’ve read several other teams had seen him throw recently and that he’d been offered a couple of minor league deals and a couple of ML deals as well.  Not the biggest financial commitment – so if it doesn’t pan out … ::shrug ::

  • die hard

    I just don’t see the advantage to give all of these seriously injured players a shot. What does this make, 3 or 4 now on the club? Next move could be giving Mark Prior a shot again. If this is an indication of how desperate the finances and situation are and will be until the contracts of Soriano, Zambrano and Dempster are gone, can’t realistically expect anything from the team until 2015. By that time, Theo will be up for renewal of contract. If Cubs are turned around in 2015 and make playoffs he will deserve extension. If not, it will be even more depressing as Ricketts put all of his chips on this one play. Maybe then he will have to file bnkcy or sell team. Meanwhile, the Cubs should invest in a top notch trainer who has the skills of a MASH doctor, ala Hawkeye Pierce, because his talents will be needed to get 25 ready to play each day.

    • TWC

      Merry Christmas, die hard!

      • die hard

        same to you and to all of the other citizens of BN

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