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.
  • EB

    Couldn’t agree more on Brian Wilson, Brett. I absolutely cannot stand that guy

    • TonyP

      Agreed, hate his antics. Time to grow up dude.

      • CM

        While I’m pretty ambivalent about Wilson and his gimmick, isn’t that kind of a nice option to have? I think playing a kids game at a high level and making tens of millions of dollars affords him the right to not grow up if he doesn’t want to. I’d contend if many of us were faced with that lifestyle option, we’d jump all over it.

    • Mick

      Yea right, because we’re in a position to be picky? Every player’s shtick is annoying unless he plays for your team. Like the Red Sox “The Idiots” or Nyjer Morgan or the Rangers claw that they’d throw up for every stupid hit. It’s kind of funny that all of those famous sctick’s come from World Series or playoff team’s players. I’m sure that would quickly change if Brian Wilson came to the Cubs since we’re neither and won’t be for a few years. It’s a moot point anyways because Brian Wilson won’t probably want to play for the Cubs (again, we can’t really be picky after losing 100 games). I’d be completely in favor of signing Brian Wilson to a 1-year prove it deal and trade him at the deadine for a prospect. It seems a lot more reasonable than shooting yourself in the foot and not signing him because you don’t like his beard or Subway commercial.

      • TonyP

        I wouldn’t be against the Cubs signing him, because I think he will be undervalued coming off TJS, but I don’t have to like how he acts.

  • R.E.S

    I would add Nate Schierholtz a little more pop than Sweeney

  • Sinnycal

    Sveum is pretty on-the-money with his defensive shifts and positioning. That could help Reynolds at 3B tremendously.

    • CubFan Paul

      At 3B you either have range or you don’t (quicksand). Sveum ain’t helpin Reynolds.

  • ichabod

    amen to the wilson comments. worst baseball personality in years. defining d-bag with such ease and grace.

  • hookersorcake

    I remember people crying about losing Gorzelanny for nothing but minor prospects.

    • CubFan Paul

      Yep, Ricketts felt it necessary to shed Gorzelanny’s $2M…ugh

      • hookersorcake

        Because he was and is a fringe EOR starter/bullpen arm who posted a decent looking ERA but had a 1.5 WHIP and other bad peripherals. He isn’t a terrible pitcher just a fringe arm/lefty The cubs got 2 million in relief, freed up a 40 man spot, and a few prospects – Burgess and a others. There are plenty of guys like him to be had in the MLB.

  • Jesse

    Cuz I’m black ops!
    Soo annoying!

  • Earl Cunningham

    I’d take a flyer on Jurrjens and Gorzelanny.

  • Fastball

    I would be in checking in on Gorzo, Lannan, Sweeney. Jurjjens on a minor league deal. Non of these excite me to much. I think we need at least one left out of the pen besides Russell who I can’t stand to watch. I have no idea how he gets anyone out. His fastball sucks and so does his slider. I’m a lefty and his stuff is embarrassing for a lefty. Can’t break a window with that fastball of his 88mph is a joke. So maybe we could trade Russell to some team that is stupid enough to take him, get a prospect back and sign both Gorzo and Lannan to be our BP lefties.

    • John

      You do realize that Lannan and Gorzelanny don’t throw any harder than Russell.

  • Fastball

    Before I would even talk to Wilson if I was Theo. I would tell that guy he had to shave that stupid ass beard off and get hair cut somewhere that doesn’t use a vegimatic. If I owned a team that hair cut policy would be enforced. I don’t care if you have a baseball mullet. But the vegimatic f’d up mohawk and amish beard would be unathorized. If he showed up with that at ST I would fine him $50K a day until it was gone.

    • Hee Seop Chode


    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      So, if your boss came up to you and said he didn’t like your look and would fine you each day until it was changed…would that be cool?

    • cb

      This reminds me of the Simpsons episode where they bring in the baseball ringers to play softball and Burns keeps yelling at Mattingly to shave his sideburns.

  • daveyrosello

    The Cubs middle relief is atrocious, so yeah, they could use a guy like Gorzo.

  • Colin

    I would go after Lannan, Pelfrey and Karstens. Getting 2 would be really nice. So many things happen from starting pitching depth that we cant predict, Injuries, ineffectiveness and then trades. Also a decent rotation will make a bad bullpen look a lot better, I’m not a big believer in signing many relievers when there are some decent starting options out there. Not guaranteeing them a rotation spot on a bad team may be what hurts the Cubs in getting this depth.

  • Don

    Sign Gorzo and Lannan. Can never have too much pitching! Put one in rotation and the other guy in the pen.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Well keep in mind about Chapman that the Cubs might be looking at a better player than Chapman in the Rule 5 Draft coming up and wanted to keep a spot on the 40 man roster.

  • Richard Nose

    Brigham non-tendered by Texas. Nice couple months for that guy.

  • nkniacc13

    I would like to see Pelfrey get a 1 yr with team option for 2nd.

  • steve

    I want Chapman back, he shouldn’t cost very much, and was effective when we brought him up last year. I’d also like us to go after Pelfrey, Lannon, and Gorz. Whichever two will sign, is the best option, IMO. We will need two simply cause Garza is likely gone and we’ll need another starter in his spot. I think Lannon would be a good fit, Gorz could be in the pen, and if we move Baker or Feldman midseason, then he could slide into the rotation as needed. Pelfrey’s interesting to me cause he is a pretty good one coming off TJ, and if he can get back to what he was, he’d be a pretty decent midrotation guy. As for Reynolds, I like to think Sveum could help him improve defensively like he did with Soriano, but who knows, Hannahan is only interesting cause his bat won’t be a complete blackhole, and his defense is very good. I still say exploring a trade for Moustakas would be our best option now and going forward.

    • http://bleachernation ferris

      no reynolds plz……what about young an ptbnl for sori trade …tx can affrd sori at 18 m for two years we take back young 16m for one yr. they hve log jam in the infield and will need to replace hamiltons power…..young can play 3b

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Do you know, the Ranger’s just might go for that, but I doubt that Young would. (He is 10 & 5, so he has NTC rights). At his age (he’ll be 36 next year), he wants a shot at a Ring.

    • Rcleven

      Pelfrey has stated that he wants to be a starter. Doubt he will sign with a team that already has full rotation.

  • lou brock lives

    Bob Brenley was a big fan of Nate Schierholtz & thought he was a very good bench player & very good defensively in tough RF’s like SF & Chicago. I would certainly take him over Bogusevic who they recently signed to a minor league deal. If we could move DeJesus in a deal for a third baseman or true CF’r like Coco Crisp I would sign Schierholtz to replace him with Sappelt facing lefties.

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    So what happened with the Rangers trade?Brigham sent back to them then he was non tendered, an we are still owed a ptbnl……sounds lke they did something wrong an tried to cover it up so not to be exposed. As in trading a player they knew was injured……fft

  • JulioZuleta

    Brian Wilson is just the worst. I’m glad others feel the same. Can’t stand the guy.

    • John

      meh. i like him ok. Most baseball interviews are boring. His are at least interesting.

  • Shawn H

    Lannan or Gorzelanny would be a nice pick up as insurance for the rotation, or in the bullpen. I wouldn’t mind adding Sweeney in a platoon role with Sappelt.

    • http://bleachernation ferris


    • USS

      Isn’t Gorzo considered done as far as a starting pitcher?

  • Walter Sobchak

    Range is what kills Mark Reynolds but keeping an improving infield with Barny, Castro and Rizzo would mask SOME things with the glove………….but 30 bombs at the corner is not easily found or even bought…..somehwere in the 2yr 14-16 mil range with an option for a third year ????? Ill take sub .230 and 30 bat him 6-7 in the lineup and low behold you have another threat beyond Rizzo……

  • Idaho Razorback

    What a zoo! You were right Brett, keep up the great work.

  • fromthemitten

    I always thought Gorzy got the shaft from Hendry and was an adequate mid-rotation starter. Moylan and Atchinson make more sense for some veteran bullpen leadership because other than Camp and Marmol (who isn’t long for Wrigley) it’s going to be a bunch of toddlers

    • USS

      Well, didn’t Maholm get the shaft? It’s a business as they say.

  • fromthemitten

    another guy to look at: Daniel Schlereth. He’s had injury problems but could bounce back in the NL and could pair up with Russell as lefty relievers in the bullpen

    • calicubsfan007

      And Schlereth has a pretty good athletic pedigree (see Schlereth, Mark). We do need more good lefties in our bullpen.

  • calicubsfan007

    Great article Brett. Personally, I would look at Sweeney, Pelfrey, Lannan, maybe Gorzelanny, and Atchison. No Reynolds though please. I watched him enough in Arizona. He plays the game ugly. It tends to be either homers or strikeouts with him. 4 pitchers, one outfielder. We could use this time as a great opportunity to get bounce back candidates.

  • nkniacc13

    Be interesting to see if the Cubs sign or trade anyone before the Rule 5 draft.

  • Walter Sobchak

    What is the downside of two years of Mark Reynolds? He produces offensive numbers…….tons of walks and yes he is a true 3 outcome player but noone can disagree that a infusion of power would not hurt this team at all…….and he only costs….. money we arent trading away anyone….a more than servicable player until (if ever) a prospect is ready, watching a sickening platoon of Luis and Ian is a better option. Im down for pitching and lots of it…..but David Price wouldnt win 12 games when the team he plays for scores 2-3 runs a game.

    • dabynsky

      The downside is he basically only capable of playing 1B.

  • PeteG

    Why don’t the Cubs pursue Shane Victorino? I haven’t heard him get mentioned at all.

  • Walter Sobchak

    The defense at 3rd will take a hit with Reynolds but I cant get over 30 bombs from the corner….Im willing to get over the D so that money isnt wasted on overspending on Keppinger…….on the pitching side I would take a swing with Lannan for sure……on any team he is an inked in 4-5 guy.

  • Walter Sobchak

    PeteG………Love if we could get Victorino……another 2 yr deal with a 3rd option maybe???
    I wouldnt mind seeing:

    A line-up with guys who can launch and get on base…..I think we would start to see what the FO is talking about