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The parade of reclamation/bounce-back pitcher rumors continues.

According to Jim Bowden (caveat emptor), the Chicago Cubs have an offer out to Francisco Liriano. There is no word on the amount of, length of, or even type of (I’m sure it’s a big league deal) offer, though. It could be a legitimate offer, or it could be a “feel it out” kind of offer to get a dialog going.

Liriano, who just turned 29, was always on the short list of pitching names mentioned when discussing the Cubs’ offseason. A former stud, Liriano is coming off of back-to-back disappointing seasons (80 ERA+, 1.1 WAR in 2011; 78 ERA+, 1.8 WAR in 2012), but that history of awesomeness remains tantalizingly just off the edge of the screen. In 2010, Liriano had a 3.62 ERA in 191.2 innings with a 3.47 K/BB and a 6.0(!) WAR. Wouldn’t it be nice to get that Liriano on a one-year-plus-option deal?

His problems the last two years are both easy to identify and completely of his own making. It’s the walks. Although he’d previously been able to keep his BB/9 generally under 3.00, the last two years it has rocketed past 5.00. You cannot be a successful big league starter with a walk rate like that (unless you’re striking out 15 per 9), and it becomes even worse when the rate at which you’re giving up gopher balls climbs … as it did for Liriano the last two years.

Does he make sense as a rebound candidate for the Cubs? Well, he certainly checks the “talented” and “down year” boxes. In his tremendous 2010 season, his groundball rate was one of the higher ones in baseball, but he hasn’t historically been a groundball pitcher. Maybe that was just luck. But obviously an improvement in his GB rate (just 43.8% last year) would play well at Wrigley Field. He’s worth a flyer as your number five starter if you’re not expecting to be competitive (as the Cubs aren’t). But he’s not a guy I’d commit two years and more than $12 million to. The last two seasons have been just so very ugly.

A few million in 2013 and a team-friendly option for 2014? Sure. That makes sense. Anything more than that, and I’d be circumspect.

Jed Hoyer recently mentioned that his preferred approach is to target early the guys the Cubs really want in free agency, and commit to them with full force (we saw it last year with very early rumors on David DeJesus and Paul Maholm). That the Cubs already have an offer out to Liriano suggests that he’s among their top targets, together with, presumably, Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum.

  • Eric

    This is the type of guy the Cardinals would sign and then he’d go on to have an outstanding year (probably had something to do with Dave Duncan). If the Cubs can fix this guy I’ll have to give Bosio a lot of credit. Let’s do this and find out just how good of a pitching coach we have. To be honest a move like this might be just as much about testing Bosio as it is going for a buy low candidate.

  • cubs1967

    sigh…………..so begins the process to another year of futility. off to 95 losses here we come. liriano could not hit the broad side of a barn; but such is ownership/managements thought process of how do build the cheapest loser we can.

    104 yrs and counting………..105 coming……..

    • DarthHater

      104 yrs and counting………..105 coming……..

      Yes, if only different front office personnel had been hired, I’m sure the Cubs would be going for their second straight World Series title in 2013.

  • Bill

    No thanks on Liriano. Wouldn’t touch him. If Don Cooper can’t straighten him out I wouldn’t expect Bosio to work a miracle.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    Would you consider Liriano better than Travis Wood, Raley, or any other thrown together pitcher the Cubs had at the end of the season? I would – Signing Liriano is not a bad idea, regardless of his “previous season” – he is a very talented pitcher who could easily rebound to his 2010 form – when healthy the guy is stellar.

  • August

    Low Pressure + New Venue + NL • Fifth Starter = Great Season ( = Stud Prospect in eventual trade)

  • August

    The New Math

  • Assman22

    Source: “Liriano, McCarthy, and Villanueva are ALL leaning towards accepting offers with the Cubs”. I’d assume them to all be Maholm-type short term deals of course.

  • Jimmy james

    Saw that too, hope they are right

    • Assman22

      Yeah I’m a bit late to the party, been working non-stop lately…If two of them pan out for the first half of the season, I’d call it a win. Would have those two plus Garza for the trade deadline…

  • Tim

    Assman22, what source? Where did you see that? That would be great if we got all 3

    • cjdubbya

      No idea on his sources, but Assman22 has a penchant for nailing stuff. Not saying he’s 100%, but he’s better than most.

      • Kyle

        He’s either ABTY from the ProSportsDaily Cubs forum, or he’s copying everything ABTY says and calling it “sources.” Every inside scoop he posts is straight from that guy, who does have confirmed sources in the industry.

      • Assman22

        Follow Ty Youngfelt on Twitter, he’s legit. I’m a nobody, just pass along stuff sometimes. He’s the real deal.

  • TheRiot2

    I’d sign Liriano he’s got better stuff than anybody else slated to be in the starting rotation. Just need to supply him with radar to find home plate.

  • TheRiot2

    None of the three mentioned are frontline starters but fit what Theo wants to do,short term contract, and flip to a legitimate contender for more prospects.

  • http://Bleachernation Oliver dehart

    Even if they pitch reasonably well,
    Who will play 3rd base and who plays center ?
    Can’t win many without scoring a few runs.

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