Now that we’ve stepped outside of the tunnel vision associated with the a deadline, and can look beyond the Cubs’ decisions, it’s time to start thinking about how the free agent landscape just shifted. The following players weren’t tendered a contract yesterday, among other players, and are now free agents that could be of some interest to the Cubs:

  • John Lannan – The lefty has been an expected non-tender for some time, after spending the bulk of 2012 at AAA. I’ve written on Lannan extensively before, so I won’t reinvent the wheel. The short version for those disinclined to read that link: he’s a low-risk option whose stuff might play well at Wrigley. With the additions of Scott Feldman and Scott Baker, Lannan might be one of the better free agent pitchers the Cubs could easily convince to sign with a team that “already has” five starters. Not an exciting or sexy pick-up, and not one I’d prefer to a Brandon McCarthy – but it’s a move I could get behind.
  • Jair Jurrjens – The non-tender that everyone wants to discuss, even if it’s been expected for weeks. Folks see Jurrjens’ “dominant” 2009 and 2011 seasons, as well as his age (26), and believe there’s a whole lot of upside there. His story, however, is far more complicated. His peripheral numbers (including a relatively weak 2:1 K:BB ratio in his best years) have always suggested he was far worse than his ERA said he was, and it – together with a rapid and stark decline in his velocity – came to a head in 2012, when he was brutally bad. Plenty of teams will be willing to take a minor league flyer on Jurrjens, and the Cubs might be among them. But a guaranteed deal and roster spot? No thanks, unless he demonstrates that he was dealing with some latent physical issue last year that has now been cleared up. Even then, more than a one-year, $2 million deal is just way too much.
  • Mark Reynolds – Another guy who has been discussed here before, back when his 2013 option was declined by the O’s: “Perennially a 105ish OPS+ guy who leads the league in strikeouts, Reynolds has a ton of power and takes a ton of walks. The biggest question mark with the 29-year-old, at least as far as the Cubs go, is whether he can play credible third base. He was moved to first base by the O’s for most of 2012, and his UZR at third base has always been well below average (including hilariously bad UZR/150 marks of -30.3 in 2011 and -48.3 in 2012). Defensive metrics aren’t everything, but it seems pretty clear that third base is probably not in his future. And that means he’s not in the Cubs’ future.” Unless those defensive problems at third base are correctable (if they are, why haven’t they been corrected by now?), I still don’t see Reynolds as a fit. (The addition of Rob Deer as an assistant hitting coach makes reviewing Reynolds’ stats kind of humorous – they have a lot in common as players.)
  • Ryan Sweeney – A 27-year-old outfielder to whom the Cubs were briefly connected over the Summer, Sweeney can play all over the outfield, bats left-handed, and could still have a little bit of upside. Despite his down 2012 season in Boston, Sweeney, at a minimum, looks like an interesting 4th outfielder option. I suspect many teams will be interested in Sweeney for a bench job, and the Cubs could be among those teams, depending on what else they do in the outfield (and how they view Dave Sappelt and Tony Campana).
  • Mike Pelfrey – Another pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery, hoping to be ready for the bulk of the 2013 season. Pelfrey was a consistently adequate back-of-the-rotation starter before his injury, so he might be worth a flyer.
  • Brian Wilson – The former closer is coming off of Tommy John surgery and would seem a nice bounce-back target, but, from the sound of things, he’s looking to go to a contender immediately. And, to that, I say: thank heavens. I could not take a season – not even a half season – of Wilson’s painful schtick. He is the worst kind of unfunny: the kind that believes, and repeatedly acts like, it is wildly hilarious. Pass. Pass, pass, pass, pass. If you need baseball reasons, I’ll go with: even when healthy, he’s inconsistent, and he’s likely to command late-inning dollars, despite the Tommy John recovery (from his second TJS).
  • Geovany Soto – Mentioned almost exclusively because of his former Cub-ness. After signing Dioner Navarro, the Cubs have no spot for a veteran catcher like Soto, who’ll try to catch on as a back-up somewhere. Best of luck, Geo.
  • Tom Gorzelanny – Another former Cub, but this is one the Cubs might look at. Gorzelanny had a nice two-year run in Washington after being dumped by the Cubs before 2011. He started on and off in 2011, before suffering from some elbow issues, and eventually becoming a full-time reliever. He success in both roles and was particularly good in the pen in 2012 (2.88 ERA, 1.319 WHIP). He was non-tendered because of a roster crunch (and the raise from $3 million he was about to receive), not because of total ineffectiveness. His peripherals aren’t great, nor are his advanced stats. But he’s a lefty, capable of pitching out of the pen or in a swing role, if necessary. There’s obviously a Chicago connection, and I’d like to see the Cubs check in on him.
  • Jeff Karstens – A modestly effective starter with the Pirates over the years, Karstens could make for a nice “depth” rotational piece, unless a team like the Rockies is willing to guarantee him a rotation spot.
  • Jack Hannahan – A decent bench bat or platoon-mate at third base? He’s been around the 100 OPS+ mark in his two years in Cleveland, so he won’t kill you at the dish. But, still, he definitely looks more like a bench option than a starter at third.
  • Peter Moylan – An intermittently effective reliever who, because of arm troubles, has thrown just 13.1 innings in the last two seasons. He’s 34, and has some wear and tear, but could be an interesting bullpen flyer.
  • Scott Atchison – The righty reliever came to Boston when Theo was still there, and has been insanely effective the last two years in a middle relief role (some of that is luck – he’s given up just two homers in his last 81.2(!) innings). He turns 37 next year, but as Shawn Camp has demonstrated, an aging middle reliever can still turn a few heads, and he can do it on the cheap.
  • Andres Torres – 5th outfielder? He can play decent defense, and his bat isn’t abysmal. He turns 35 next year, though.
  • Walter Sobchak

    We are not overspending…..we wouldnt be depleting our lower system in a trade and this is a lineup that our pitchers could feel better in that they dont have to toss zeros out there for us to have a chance for a W

    • DarthHater

      We are not overspending

      How do you know that Victorino wouldn’t be overpriced? He is reportedly looking for five years and a lot of money. Maybe he won’t be able to get everything he wants, but a lot of teams are apparently showing interest in him, including a number of contenders. So chances are his price will be too high for the Cubs this year and, even if he has to settle for less, he would be more likely to choose to go to a contender.

  • JR

    I didn’t realize everyone disliked B. Wilson’s antics so much. I always thought he was he was pretty funny. Although, that type of stuff is probably not a good idea on a crap team like the 2013 Cubs.

  • marcel91

    Finally someone who knows Jurrjens is crap right now. I’ve seen junior varsity high school pitchers with better stuff. No thanks.

    Torres would make a nice fifth.outfielder but as a starter? No, id rather have Bjax out there.

    Sweeney is just a poor man’s Brett Jackson without the power. Fifth outfielder

    I’d like to see us take flyers on Pelfrey, Karstens, or especially Manny Parra. Dude still has great stuff just no control, maybe bosio can fix that. Some lefties take longer to figure things out and he’s only 30

    • USS


  • Iowa Chokeyes

    Where is there a JV high school pitcher that can touch 88. I personally want to see that.

    • Austin

      Believe it or not I played with a kid Freshman year and he was hitting 85 consitently. It can happen, especially at Highschools that have deep talent.

  • Walter Sobchak

    Parra would b nice addition to the pen……. I’d like the cubs to pick up some dialog with the royals and Indians as well….. I think we match well for trade pieces……

  • Carew

    According to mlbtraderumors, Cubbies are gonna shop Soriano at the winter meetings…
    Well, DUH. They didn’t need to report that…sorry its been a slow day for me

    • JR

      What’s the point of shopping Soriano when he will only go to the Yanks or Dodgers? And neither wants him. Soriano is cool with winning 60 games a yr and playing with 22 yr olds during the last yrs of his career…

  • Njriv

    Soriano to the Phillies?

  • http://bleachernation frank hutch

    Soriano to tampa for wade davis make it happen

  • Walter Sobchak

    Who do the Phil’s have that match with a need for us?

  • IndyCubsFan

    Ichiro is looking elsewhere b/c Yankees took too long. Looks like there’s an outfield opening in NY. Take Soriano!

  • JR

    Soriano would fit right in with all the other old players on inflated contracts the Yanks have. Seems like a great fit to me. Trading Soriano and getting value seems like it would be one of the most difficult things in the world to do considering his NTC, and that he likes playing for the Cubs though.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Sources: #Cubs in agreement with Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa.

  • GoCubs

    Cubs sign Fujikawa.

  • Carew

    High Five everybodyfor Fujikawa!

  • Cerambam

    Heyman and Sullivan cover their twitter tracks by tweeting “rosenthall reports cubs deal”

  • Dan
  • Chase S.

    Yes please on Sweeney. I could be bias considering I got to play against him in high school (well, got to watch the varsity team play against him after I finished playing in the JV game…) but I like his D and is much more useful than Campana at the plate.

  • USS


  • USS
  • daveyrosello

    Cubs biggest needs: quality CF and quality 3B. Need Jedi magic to get us a 3B via trade. CF will likely need to be a FA signing.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Sweeney (if he performs like he did last year) is a slight upgrade over Campana. He’s strictly a platoon player that doesn’t hit left-handed pitching very well, where Campana can’t hit any type of pitching and runs fast.

    Campana .273 wOBA
    Sweeney .295 wOBA

    Gorzelanny would also be an upgrade over Beliveau (or the nonexistent left hand pitcher in our bullpen other than Russell).

    I think those are the only two worth adding on the roster that will contribute immediately with costing us a minimal amount. A sign-and-trade with Reynolds (and eat salary) to play DH/1B for Tampa would be a smart move that could land us David Price.

    • MichiganGoat

      ” A sign-and-trade with Reynolds (and eat salary) to play DH/1B for Tampa would be a smart move that could land us David Price.”

      WHAT? How does this get us David Price? Are we in Bizarro BN again?

      • fromthemitten

        Mikey give me your dealer’s number I want what you’re smoking to think TB would trade Price for Reynolds

      • TSB

        We have guns

      • Mike Taylor (no relation)

        *could help land us Price.

        Link to Message Board

    • Kyle

      I love how there was like 90% of a really insightful, interesting comment and then it just went completely off the rails for the last paragraph.

  • #1lahairfan

    Interested in Pelfrey, and Gorzeloony

  • Dan

    Brett why so negative of Wilson? 168 saves in 182 chances is “incredibly inconsistent”? Sounds like he beat you up as a kid or something

    • Brett

      He beats up my ears every time he speaks.

      • Dan

        So it is more about a personal dislike then an actual dislike for talent…Then for the interest of your website and future readership, I vote the Cubs sign him ASAP…just for the constant hate articles. Some reporter will mention it to him and you’ll become “more” famous

    • MichiganGoat

      He also gives those of us that have real beard a bad name.

      • DarthHater

        Wilson’s beard is pretty impressive, but he can’t compete with your horns, Goat. And no matter how much he paints his nails, they still aren’t as good as hooves!

  • nkniacc13

    Brett do you think the Cubs will make anymore signings before the Rule 5 draft?

  • dob2812

    Jesus, the idea of Geovany Soto having to hope to catch on as a back up somewhere is depressing. I really believed in that guy. Outside of Castro, he was my favourite Cub going into 2011. I very much hope he rebounds somewhere. Best of luck Geo.


    Going thru the list of non-tenders is like watching American Pickers. Hoping that someone’s trash can be your treasure. Just don’t see a lot of rusty gold in this pile, but if the Cubs hire Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz we could get lucky. If Harry and Ron Santo were still around doing the games now with Fujikawa, Pat Hughes could retire on the inevitable blooper CD residuals.

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