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There was a time when Brandon McCarthy looked like the most attractive free agent pitcher likely to be in the Cubs’ reasonable range of pursuit come this offseason. In fact, back in mid-August, I called McCarthy the “early favorite for rumors,” expecting that he was going to be a prime target for the Cubs. Two weeks later, McCarthy took a line drive off the head, had emergency brain surgery, and his free agency future became considerably clouded.

The Cubs, however, look to be interested in signing McCarthy, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. She says that McCarthy is drawing “immediate interest,” and lists the Cubs, together with the White Sox and Blue Jays, as among the teams that could be interested. Read together, it isn’t difficult or unreasonable to connect those dots. “Immediate interest,” presumably, is coming from the Cubs.

McCarthy has stated a preference for returning to Oakland next year (many free agents do), but the A’s have already re-signed Bartolo Colon, and had seemingly filled McCarthy’s void in September nicely with young arms.

Even after that head injury, the Cubs’ interest should be no surprise. Indeed, that may have put McCarthy even more in the Cubs’ wheelhouse, with the possibility that he could have become an undervalued asset. Whereas McCarthy seemed to be headed for a healthy three or even four-year payday before the injury (even with his past health problems), his situation now is really unclear. Physically, he seems to be on his way back fine from brain surgery, but it isn’t unfair to worry about the mental aspect – or the offseason workout routine aspect, either. McCarthy’s injury could impact his performance in 2013 in dozens of ways that have nothing to do with the physical state of his skull or his brain.

If he is back to normal, though, he’s a guy you want in your rotation. When healthy – perhaps one of the most important opening clauses in a rumor-type post you’ll ever see – McCarthy is an excellent pitcher. In his one – no, seriously, just one – mostly-fully-healthy season in the big leagues, all McCarthy did for the A’s in 2011 was put up a 3.32 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 1.131 WHIP, 4.92(!) K/BB, and 4.8 WAR over 170.2 innings and 25 starts. He was following that up in 2012 with a superb 2.79 ERA over 71 innings when shoulder trouble sidelined him for a chunk of the year. When he came back, he pitched well again until the liner off his noggin.

So what do you have in McCarthy? Well, he missed much of 2007 with a stress fracture in his shoulder blade, most of 2008 with elbow troubles, chunks of 2009 and almost all of 2010 with the same kind of shoulder trouble, and another small chunk in 2011 with the same issue. In short: he misses time thanks to injury. Worse, they are frequently large chunks of time, they are related to recurrent injuries, and they tend to orbit around his arm.

What kind of contract does someone with that litany of injury troubles – coming off a serious head injury – receive? Well, given the unquestionable talent, the repeated ability to come back from those injury troubles, and the dearth of high-end pitching talent on the free agent market, I think he gets a guaranteed deal. There’s just too much upside for a team not to blink and give him a big league deal. He might even get a multi-year deal, depending on his prerogative. He might prefer another one year “prove it” deal, and a team like the Cubs would be all too happy to oblige. They’ve got the rotation spot they can hand him, and they’ve got the ability to be patient should he need some “time off” at some point next year. Ideally the Cubs would sign him to a one-year-plus-one-option year kind of deal, but that all depends on the market for McCarthy (and his interest in coming to Chicago).

Here’s hoping the Cubs pursue him aggressively. The risk is very real, but the upside is incredible. McCarthy is just 29, and, although he could be signed as a rebound/flip candidate, he’s young enough that the Cubs could look to keep him around for a little while if everything breaks right (and nothing of his breaks).

Interestingly, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer recently discussed McCarthy (when prompted, that is) and his signing by the A’s back in December 2010. Hoyer complimented both the signing and the subsequent performance in such a way that all but confirmed the interest.

Hoyer also said, as noted in the same piece by Patrick Mooney, that one way this front office likes to attract free agents is by demonstrating sincere interest early on in the process. Hmm. What was that Susan Slusser said about the Cubs’ “immediate interest” in McCarthy?

(McCarthy might also be the best tweeting athlete, so there’s another reason to want him.)

  • Leroy

    no. Nothing against him, but I don’t want another Ian Stewart.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not really sure there’s a whole lot of similarity other than “have had some injuries.”

      • Leroy

        OK. that’s different. I saw “oft injured” on the headline and it threw me. That seemed to be our MO last year. Pick up someone who had been hurt who could tentively have a break through year. Although I love his tweets.

      • http://twitter.com/dkhockey24 David

        How about a love of Twitter, as you mentioned.

        And McCarthy certainly gives him a run for his money, but Paul Bissonnette (https://twitter.com/BizNasty2point0) is the best pro athlete tweeter.

  • Omar

    While brain surgery does sound serious, it’s not really as bad as it sounds. He he had a hematoma, which is basically a collection of blood just in a sensitive area. It’s not like there was any structural or brain damage and it really shouldn’t have much of an affect long term.

    • fortyonenorth

      Yeah. This was my take as well. My understanding is that he didn’t have brain surgery per se. He had surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Whenever (and wherever) you have that type of blunt trauma you’re going to have bruising (i.e. bleeding) and swelling. It’s just that the brain is a super-sensitive region.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I was going for dramatic effect – and, like I said, he’s expected to be over the physical damage.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And, as a sort-of-aside – the potential, however small, impact of long-term concussion symptoms can’t be ruled out. That’s why it’s still very relevant to be concerned about the head injury. Just ask Brian Roberts.

      I’m just saying, it matters as a part of the calculus.

      • jayrig5

        Or Matt Clement. His injury was less severe than McCarthy’s, and he was never even close to the same. (The current front office will no doubt be very familiar with that, though, since he played for Boston when it happened.)

      • fortyonenorth

        Didn’t mean to minimize the severity of the injury or the potential long term effects. Like Garza’s mid-season arm thing, are teams really going to line-up to pay a guy $$$$ when he hasn’t pitched since getting drilled? Maybe it’s worth a 1-yr. “prove it” deal but, honestly, we don’t know if this guy will ever pitch again–to say nothing about pitching effectively.

  • cubchymyst

    I think the cubs should sign 1 pitcher this offseason who has the possibility of sticking around for the next 3-4 years and not a flip candidate. I’m not sure if McCarthy is that guy due to the injury history but I like the interest in a young free agent pitcher.

    • CubFan Paul

      Francisco Liriano intrigues me as one of the (at least) 2 or 3 pitchers acquired this offseason.

      • cubchymyst

        Liriano walk rate is a little high for my liking, switching to the national league might give him a small boost. I’m more intrigued by Jackson or Villanueva then Liriano,

        • CubFan Paul

          Villanueva too. Villanueva, Scott Baker, & Liriano added to Garza, Samardzija, & T.Wood makes for strong depth til Garza & whoever gets dealt in July.

          • cubchymyst

            I hope at least one of those guys gets added, the second half of the season was tough to listen to with the starting rotation as bad as it was. I liked the trades but now I’d like to see the starting rotation start to take shape.

  • David

    Brett,

    Just pointing out, it doesn’t really sound like the reporter is saying the Cubs have shown immediate interest.

    “McCarthy, who was among the league’s top starters when healthy, also has drawn immediate interest; numerous teams, including the Cubs, White Sox and Blue Jays, are seeking starting pitching.”

    To me, that just reads like she’s reporting that somebody has shown immediate interest in McCarthy, and then she proceeds to list a few teams who are known to be looking for starting pitching.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s a fair reading, though it would be strange for her to know/report that he’s receiving immediate interest, and then list random teams (28 of 30 MLB teams are known to be looking for starting pitching – strange to list those three in particular unless there’s a reason). I’ll try to clean it up a bit.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        There – came to the same conclusion, but made the language a bit more precise (and made my analysis of her wording a bit more explicit). Thanks for the prodding.

  • the jackal

    mccarthy sounds like rich harden all over again

    • Boogens

      You might be right and maybe he is like Harden from the fragility perspective, but what I remember most about Harden was that he was good for only 5 innings or so for each start. The Cubs were guaranteed to use the bullpen somewhere between 2 to four innings everytime he started so it was quite taxing. It’d be interesting to see if there are any metrics that provide insight on the average / typical length of McCarthy’s starts.

      • Boogens

        I meant to say 3 to 4 innings per start (sorry!)

      • B_Scwared

        ‘frah-gee-lay.’ It must be Italian!”

  • #1lahairfan

    How much would it cost to get him.

    • Mick

      If I had to guess, I’d say 2 years guranteed at $7m/year, an option for a 3rd at $8.5m w/a $1.5m buyout.

      • When the Music’s Over

        Your numbers sound very sensible on a guaranteed part of the deal, with probably some nice monetary incentives for innings pitched. No clue about the years.

        Then again, in a sane world, that would sound about right. Too bad the MLB (like other major sports) does not operate in a sane world. Paying top of the line starting pitchers ~$100K/IP, and top of the line closers $150-200K/IP seems to now be the going rate.

        With those numbers in mind, would be somewhat surprised if McCarthy would settle for anything far removed from $10M/year. Then again, I am constantly wrong.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    If I were the cubs I would sign him both Brandon McCarthy and Scott Baker. Huge risk but huge reward potential! You could also possibly sign them both to a one year + option year, or even a 2 year plus option year. They are both injury prone but have fantastic arms that if they prove themselves and pitch well for the first half of the next year we, could get some pretty nice prospects before if they pan out. Its kind of a big “IF” but its an if I would definitely would be willing to take. Also could you imagine a rotation of 1. Garza 2. Samardzija 3. McCarthy 4. Baker 5. Travis Wood/Haren?. I know its highly unlikely but still would be very boom or bust

  • Jacob

    How about his wife too?

    • hansman1982

      Theo is actually assembling an All-Wives team.

  • hansman1982

    Anyone else think he looks like a skinnier Mark Prior in that picture?

    • Kyle

      I do now.

    • college_of_coaches

      Inverted “W”?

      • Internet Random

        Reversed ehcuoD.

      • hansman1982

        I didn’t see that at first but that could explain health issues

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Thing is, he’s leaning forward slightly in that picture. I have not checked video of him yet, but I don’t see enough in that picture for met to be certain his elbow is coming too high.

          But it would help explain the shoulder issues if it were the case.

          • hansman1982

            Ya you can’t really tell anything from one picture. Would need to see video.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I thought folks were now saying the whole inverted W thing was bogus?

            • Drew7

              That’s my understanding as well.

      • B_Scwared

        The inverted “W” or as the rest of the non-scouting world calls it an M.

  • abe

    Brett,
    Do you think Lake and Szczer will make it through the GM meetings on the cubs roster (they are both on the 40 man roster..)?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      How’s this for bold: I would be surprised if both are still on the 40-man roster come Rule 5 Draft time (just before the Winter Meetings is the roster deadline). In other words, I’m at about 51% expectation that one or both is gone by then. That leaves 49% that they’re still on, of course …

      • nkniacc13

        Brett I agree I think Lake is gone by the time the Rule 5 draft comes around.

        • Serious Cubs Fan

          Brett,

          Do you think they will trade Lake or Szczer? Or do you think they will just take them off the 40 man roster and roll the dice no one will pick them up and have them sit on their 25 man roster and take up a big league roster spot? Position players are different then pitchers because pitchers you can stash away and hide them in the bullpen for a year and then “fake” an injury for the rest of the season

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            They would trade them – almost impossible to see either one clearing waivers, as they still have option years left, and a team with a 40-man spot can just stash them for a year.

      • King Jeff

        Do you think that’s why they put Sczcur in the AFL, to drum up interest? It seemed like a strange choice to me, but he is a name prospect, so I might be looking for something that’s not there.

        • nkniacc13

          maybe but also to try and speed up his baseball timeline

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I also thought Szczur was a strange choice for the AFL, so I can’t quite say. Possible.

        • Spriggs

          If they put him there to drum up interest, I’d say that move backfired on them a bit.

  • nkniacc13

    They should. The winter meetings is where the trades tend to happen

  • gutshot5820

    Just out of curiosity, would any of you trade Baez and Soriano plus 35m in cash for Hellickson? Do you think more or less is reasonable?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I would not. I like the idea of Hellickson, and he wouldn’t be gotten for cheap. But I think that, *if* the Cubs were going to trade Baez, he’s got more trade value than that.

      (And I’d rather they just didn’t trade him at all right now.)

      • nkniacc13

        Id really be interested to see what it would cost to get Hellickson. I wouldn’t give up Baez. Soler or Almora but otherwise I’d atleast make an offer I think

        • abe

          my guess is Tampa would want Beaz and Solar. They never give anything away for cheap.

        • Boogens

          I agree that it would take a lot to get him but I just don’t see Theo moving his first first-rounder as the Cubs president nor do I see him moving Soler at this point as he’s fairly cost effective for a long time.

      • gutshot5820

        Interesting comments. A lot of posters were wanting Olt plus Perez for one-half year of Garza. Now it seems Hellickson, who some may say is an elite/better pitcher than Garza with four years of control left doesn’t equal a trade with Baez, who is admittedly a potential star. I’m wondering if that speaks volumes about Baez’s potential or is just a bit of Cubs fandom.

        • JR

          I never thought Garza’s value was as high as many Cubs fans because of his salary and control left. Although he probably would have gotten a good return at the deadline last year if healthy. Now his value sucks complete balls.

        • Drew7

          Garza would’ve had 1.5 yrs of control had he been traded at the deadline, and 2 full years this past offseason, when he was coming off a top-25 season.
          Perez and Olt both may have been steep, but I also think Olt has been a bit overrated by some.

        • Kyle

          If Hellickson’s ERA matched the peripherals, I’d say go ahead and give up Baez for him. But they don’t, and I’m not interested in paying full price to find out if he’s been lucky or just has some sort of “make them hit line drives at my fielders” magic.

          • Drew7

            I’m with Kyle on this one. I see Hellickson as way too much of a regression candidate to part with a guy with a ceiling as high as Baez’s.

        • bbmoney

          I think it says more about some people vastly overrating Hellickson and his 2.1 K/BB ratio, 4.6 FIP (4.44 xFIP) and ~6ks per 9.

          Granted the control is nice, but he’s almost certainly not as good as his ERA was last year. Huge regression candidate.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Hellickson is due for a large regression.

    • Jeremy

      No not at all. Hellickson outperforms his peripherals and while I do like him as a pitcher and would love to pursue him, he isn’t worth giving up any of Baez, Soler and Almora. People tend to think his value is much higher then what it actually is due to all the hype he received when he was a prospect. Not to mention he’s a fly ball pitcher, pitching in a pitcher’s park.

      • gutshot5820

        I don’t know if I can agree with you on this. Hypothetically, if there were three pitchers available of Hellickson’s quality, I would trade all three of Solar, Baez and Almora in an instant. You would have a rotation of three Hellickson’s (similar) Garza, and Samardzia. That would be the best rotation in the majors and would be young and cost controlled. Samardzia being your fifth best starter is pretty awesome. Plus, you would have this years draft and you can trade some of your surplus pitching in future years to restock the farm.

        You can sign, Hamilton, Bourn for the outfield (money be damned), trade whatever you need to get Headley if possible. Sign Soriano as a closer, bring up Vizcaino, Cabrera and Zych into the bullpen with Russell. And without doing the numbers, I think payroll would be more than flexible enough to keep adding in the future.

        That would be a World Series team that would probably contend every year for a long time. Unfortunately, this is all a fantasy because I doubt any team would trade Hellickson or similar one-on-one for our big three. Or maybe i am overrating Hellickson’s effectiveness.

        • Jeremy

          The problem isn’t whether or not Hellickson is a quality pitcher or not but whether his performance warrants trading a prospect of the caliber of our big three. It’s not that Hellickson’s effectiveness is being overrated or not but rather he can continue to match his performance and get better or if he is just outperforming his peripherals.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think Hellickson is a quality pitcher, his change up is nasty and he is a pitcher worth going after but I don’t put him in the realm of being worthy of trading our top prospects like David Price would be.

          • DoubleDown

            When you say our top three, to whom do you refer?

            • cjdubbya

              Presumably Soler, Baez & Almora, if I had to venture a guess.

  • willis

    Mental approach is more important here than the physical part. I think he’ll be ok plhysically, but to be an effective major league pitcher you have to be insanely mentally tough. Did this blow to the head change that with this guy? And can he clear that from his mind enough to still be a pretty good starter? Sounds risky to me, but for the right money it would be worth it.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Who has the best pure stuff assuming both are full healthy? Scott Baker or Brandon McCarthy?

    • bbmoney

      Mccarthy.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    McCarthy had intrigued me, as he showed a huge spike in his GB:FB ratio in 2011, supposedly after reading the stats and realizing that GB HR are extremely rare things. However, his GB rate dropped back to career levels in 2012 (about 40%), and that’s a bit below league average (over 45% these days): and in a park like Wrigley, it would really help to have much better than league average.

    McCarthy also has benefited from a very low HR:FB ratio over the last couple of years. That’s part luck and part Coliseum. It would not carry over to Wrigley. McCarthy has a low walk rate, but he also has a low K rate. So, give him a Wrigley HR:FB ratio, and he would give up quite a few runs.

    So, I would shy away from him.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      well thought out, informative post.

  • JR

    McCarthy doesn’t excite me at all. But I am sure if he can remain slightly healthy it would be an upgrade from what the Cubs were running out there in August and September. Obviously…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If he stays healthy, he’d be a ridiculously huge upgrade over what the Cubs were running out there in August and September.

      Heck, if he stays healthy, he might be the best pitcher on the team. That’s the whole thing with him.

      • JR

        I hear ya Brett. But it seems like he pretty much never stays healthy. Right?

      • gutshot5820

        I’m with you on this one Brett. You have to love his potential and he fits the Cubs needs now and in the future as a low cost but high reward option. I would love to see them add him and one or two of the other top mid-tier free agent pitchers. I’m on board with overpaying a few of the mid-tier pitchers and flipping them for prospects and sending some cash to net a better prospect in the process. Money unspent is only going to line the Ricketts pockets, so I’d like to see them be creative and use money as a way of adding prospects.

      • DoubleDown

        This reminds me of Rich Harden. Injuries are not similar but the gamble looks frighteningly on the the same plane.

        • Turn Two

          I’d say the comparison you’re drawing is that they are a’s pitchers with injury history because otherwise this gamble does not resemble that one much at all.harden was a potential ace being added to a potential world series contender. Mccarthy would be a potentially stable pitcher on a bad team. The gamble has no comparison.

          • DoubleDown

            McCarthy has only pitched more than 120 innings once in his career. Rich Harden only once in career has thrown more than 150 innings. There are parallels to draw here.

            • Turn Two

              Yes injury prone a’s pitchers-different type of gamble completely

              • DoubleDown

                Yes, different situation. But I think the FO would be sending the wrong message in going after McCarthy. They would be conceding the 2013.

                • Drew7

                  Taking a flyer on 1 guy if he can be had for the right price means they’re punting next year? That seems like a stretch.

                  • Kyle

                    Yeah. We have to wait and see.

                    McCarthy as the best pitcher we add this offseason would be infuriating.

                    McCarthy as the second best pitcher we add this offseason would be grudgingly acceptable.

                    McCarthy as the third best pitcher we add this offseason would be awesome.

                    It’s hard to know where he fits in until you see the whole thing unfold.

                  • DoubleDown

                    My point was(as Kyle alluded to) if McCarthy is the best pitcher we add in the offseason, I’d say we were punting. I would also like to say why was Voltad pushed aside? I would rather give him 3 mil and another chance(he is healthy and shown he can eat up innings and only 25years old) as opposed to a pitcher with a rubber band holding things on his right side together going on 30.

                    • Drew7

                      There go those goalposts.

                      Kyle actually helped make *my* point there – the signing of McCarthy wouldn’t tell you anything about their strategy for 2013.

                      Your original post (to which I replied) said “the FO would be sending the wrong message by going after McCarthy. They would be conceding the 2013 (season).”.

                      That’s a lot different than “If he’s the best pitcher we add this season, I’d say we’re punting” – which is a statement I’d be much more inclined to agree with.

                    • Drew7

                      *Should read, “McCarthy’s signing *alone* wouldn’t tell you anything about their strategy for ’13.”

            • Drew7

              Why change the benchmark (120 IP vs 150) when drawing parallels?

              • DoubleDown

                The parallel was meant to be the lack of innings in their careers and consistent injuries. One can’t dispute the eery similarity.

                • Drew7

                  Well, I am starting to sense *something* eerily similar around here.

  • GoCubsGo

    Not sure what the chances are but I hope we can sign Sanchez and Liriano. I am guessing we would have to overpay Sanchez to convince him that Chicago is the right city but I think it would be a good investment. A rotation of Garza, Liriano, Sanchez, Samardzija, Wood/Cabrera. I think we could compete a bit if we stayed healthy. We sure wouldnt be a deep team.

  • Jimmy James

    just a couple days ago we seemed on the way to the rotation i wanted….garza, haren, samardzija, mccarthy and wood. still might get there i suppose but i’m scared of haren now

  • Brian Peters

    Can the Cubs not pursue perfectly-healthy players? If all they’re going to do is sign folks who are 70% healthy, they may as well just do the farm system thing and not try to sign any free agents. For Pete’s sake, I’m okay with them saving money, but if they’re going to talk about having all this money to throw away, then spend it on somebody who isn’t gimpy.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Paul Maholm was shut down in August 2011 with shoulder problems. I’d say that signing turned out well.

  • Brian Peters

    Yeah, and you take your chances with “healthy” players, blah, blah, blah…..but the Cubs aren’t the Royals. A good majority of the players the Cubs have been tied to are coming off injuries. How about taking your chances with someone with a clean bill of health?

    • DoubleDown

      I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Drew7

    Out of curiosity, which players would you like them to target?

  • Brian Peters

    Lohse, Santana, etc.

  • Brian Peters

    SanCHEZ……sorry, listening to Carlos

    • BT

      So you think a 34 year old Kyle Lohse is the answer to our prayers? That seems like a prudent place to invest our money on a team at least (barring miracles)one year away from contending for the World Series? That’s a smarter play than McCarthy?

      • DoubleDown

        McCarty is a big gamble at 30 years old. This would depend on the contract tendered.

      • DoubleDown

        I think I would certainly take Lohse over bringing back Dempster if the Fo were considering upping up the ante.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Hey guys Ex Cub Angel Pagan is available.. I would love to see him back with the Cubs

  • cubfanincardinalland

    When getting out of the hospital, McCarthy tweeted that it was a chance to ask his wife for a threesome. My kind of guy, get him. And finally a good use Twitter.
    By the way, his wife tweeted back, I will strike someone with a brain injury!

  • http://BleacherNation Dean

    Can’t help saying that Brandon McCarthy reminds me a little of Rich Harden. He had the huge upside, and the injury bug too. I’d say take a shot at McCarthy, but you also need to sign a couple guys that you can count on eating some innings. McCarthy would be a nice wild card though.

    • PeteG

      Haha I posted my comment without seeing that you see the Harden similarities. Great minds think alike.

  • PeteG

    Reminds me of Rich Harden…Sign him! Awesome pitcher who may finally get healty. Plus he’s a cool guy to follow on twitter.

  • TSB

    Sad fact is that someone has to take the mound every fifth day for the Cubs. If you read the comments here, any starting pitcher that the Cubs could actually get is either too old, too injury prone, too green, has a bad attitude, doesn’t bathe regularly, etc. I suppose there is a chance that the Dodgers will put Kershaw on waivers or the Tigers will give us Verlander for LeHair, but until then, the Cubs are limited to the best available.

    • DoubleDown

      Like I said . I would bring Volstad back(and I am NOT a big Volstad fan). But looking at it logically, the FO has to thinking about it. You bring him back on the “cheap” and he has to be as good a bet as it gets.

      • Tommy

        Volstad was claimed off of waivers by K.C.

        • Stevie B

          As was Doubledown’s sanity.

  • KidCubbie

    Does anyone think that the Cubs might persue either Ryan Madson or Jonathan Broxton in the event that the Reds do not re-sign them and the Cubs trade Marmol?

    • North Side Irish

      Doubtful. Even if they do, it will only be with the intention of flipping them at the deadline and I can’t see a proven closer signing on for that. I think the Cubs hope an internal option steps up, like Russell or Dolis.

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