fernando abad nationalsWe know that the Chicago Cubs are in the market for another lefty reliever this offseason, but we also know that they’re going to be very conscientious about how they spend their dollars for a little while.

If they decide to try and pick up a lefty on the cheap, a few options just came onto the market during yesterday’s 40-man roster shuffling around baseball: Tony SippFernando Abad, and Tyler Robertson, who were just DFA’d by the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Nationals, respectively.

Sipp, 30, was effective intermittently in his earlier days with the Indians, though it was driven by an extreme flyball approach, which made him susceptible to the long ball. He gave up a few more hits than usual last year, and the Diamondbacks decided to let him go. Sipp would be arbitration-eligible if grabbed off of waivers, and would probably get a raise on his $1.275 million 2013 salary despite a down year. Although his might be the name you recognize on that list of three, I’m not sure he’s the most attractive target.

Robertson, 25, is your prototypical mid-20s lefty relief prospect who hasn’t broken through. That is to say he strikes out a ton of batters and walks a ton of batters. He might be worth a stash if he’s a guy the Cubs were already eyeing. With someone like Zach Rosscup already available to the Cubs internally (he walks more than Robertson, but also strikes out a bunch more), I’m not sure there’s a fit.

Abad, however, seems to be the real winner in the trio. Although he turns 28 in a few weeks, Abad is not yet arbitration eligible. After struggling for three years with the Astros, Abad came to the Nationals on a minor league deal in 2013. He threw 37.2 innings with the Nationals, sporting a 3.35 ERA and a nice 3.20 K/BB ratio. From 2011 to 2013 (he debuted in limited fashion in 2010), his K/9 increased each year, and his BB/9 dropped each year. For his career, Abad has a 4.09 K/BB against lefties.

Moreover, Abad added three MPH to his fastball in 2013, so the uptick in effectiveness was not a hollow one. The more I study Abad, the more I wonder … why did the Nats DFA him? Do they already have a trade lined up? Because this wouldn’t seem to be the kind of guy you waive unless you want to lose him for nothing. Is there an off-the-field story here or something? Even the local media was surprised to see him DFA’d. I know Abad was a mere minor league signee last year, but didn’t he show something in 2013 worth hanging onto? As always, we have to be careful about “scouting the stats,” but based on everything I can see, there is a lot to like and dream on for the near-term.

If Abad makes it to the waiver wire, I’d like to see the Cubs take a chance on him if they aren’t already predisposed to disliking him for some reason. Compared to the options available in free agency, Abad might be as attractive – and probably more attractive, since he’d cost just a hair over the minimum.

  • Demarrer

    I’m sorry but the bullpen was bad enough last year. I don’t understand why we would aquire Abad player. The team is already filled with them.

    • Big Daddy


  • Blackhawks1963

    Not a fan of dumpster diving further to address our bullpen issues. If we’re going to be bad in 2014 then lets give some internal options a chance to sink or swim in the pen.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Relievers are so volatile from one year to the next that this probably is as good a way as any to get them. Every year we see a handful of “dumpster” pickups do well in relief, and every year we see several of last year’s successes bellyflop. Signing relievers or trading for them just because they’ve had a good year or two is a risky proposition.

      Besides, in a way, you are always dumpster diving for relievers: after all, every one of them is a failed starter.

      • Jono


      • Wilbur

        Of a similar opinion …

  • YourResidentJag

    Rather have Falu at 2b. He bats S and takes walks.

  • ETS

    my guess is a deal is worked out but they needed to make the roster move and the deal wasn’t quite finalized so the solution was dfa.

  • Voice of Reason

    Lefty reliever Jesse Orosco is still available?

  • Ballgame

    I feel like the FO has done a pretty good job with relievers off the scrap heap. Some credit should probably go to Bosio, but Gregg, Camp (2012), Strop (traded for when value was low), Guerrier (solid til he got hurt) are all guys were who basically got thrown away. These moves are what I have the most confidence in them making. Obviously, not all have worked out but I’m curious to see who/when their first big FA signing is (prob next offseason). Edwin Jackson only minimally counts.

    • Kyle

      Our bullpen has been in the fight for the worst in the majors for most of the last two years. I don’t think they can really claim much credit for cycling through dozens of terrible relievers and finding a couple who were slightly less awful.

  • itzscott

    >> Do they already have a trade lined up? <<

    Aren't the Nats one of the teams interested in Shark?

    Maybe Abad's PART of such a deal?

    • Chad

      Too bad we let Borbon go since he was the centerpiece of the Garza deal!

  • Ballgame

    And kind of off the topic, but shouldn’t the Cubs check in on Matt Kemp and don’t kill me….Ryan Braun. These are two guys when healthy/not cheating are perennial all-stars. I think the Brewers, whether they admit it or not need Braun to get out of there. He lied at his PED conference at Spring Training with all of his teammates standing behind him. No way they want him back in the clubhouse, zero respect. I think it’s feasible the Cubs could put together a package for either Kemp/Braun without including “The 4” or “5” (Edwards) and that would really change the landscape of the lineup. Just saying…

    • dash

      It seems the Cubs have been intentionally steering clear of anyone who has even a hint of suspected PED use in his history. And Braun’s relationship with Cubs fans isn’t rosy, to say the least.

    • Senor Cub

      Ballgame – stop being disruptive don’t you know this FO is busy looking at the scrap and rule 5 guys and has beens. They need pitching so bad. You can only have one guy playing third so not when they plan on trading some of them away. Olt, Bryant. Are they going to trade Baez or Castro, again only one of them can be in SS. How about Almora/Soler/Blake/Jackson/ etc… they need to move up this plan a year or two and start making some trades for pitching.

  • Ballgame

    I agree on the overall breakdown of the bullpen, so I agree with you to an extent. I was just speaking for these individuals. Marmol killed the Cubs bullpen stats last year. Russell was overused too. Guy was throwing meatballs by ASB, but hopefully he bounces back..

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    I think a bullpen is the easiest thing to fix with some money when you have a core of hitters and starters ready to go. I would be surprised and upset if the Cubs put any money into the bullpen with bigger issues in the rotation and the field.

  • TSB

    What? Abad added three miles per hour to his fastball at the age of 28? Doesn’t he know, that, like Castro, Rizzo, Lake, Edwards, Barney etc., you cannot improve after the age of 25 (or earlier!)? At least that is what some that post here believe. Must be PEDs, I guess.

  • Ballgame

    So, Senor Cub are you hoping the Cubs would try and trade for Price? I think we’d have to overpay and to an extent will be defeating the purpose of building these prospects up. I’d be more interested in trading Shark/Schierholtz to D’backs for Bradley and anyone else we could get. Schierholtz is average at best and if anyone is willing to pay any value for him, you take it. Get rid of Samardzija’s potential contract in 2 seasons for a young cost-controlled stud pitcher. Then when Bradley is putting it together in a year or two, everything else will hopefully be figuring itself out. You know all of the prospects won’t pan out, so which do you get rid of? No chance I trade Bryant (even if you could right now), Baez prob not, Almora in right deal, Soler definitely in right situation…

    • Crazyhorse

      Singing the Blues

      “The Cubs wont spend on free agents until the minors of full of blue chips
      The Cubs wont spend on revonations until the roooftops promise not to suuuueeee
      The Cubs wont spend on talent unless a bandaide is attached
      The Cubs wont spend time on WGN cause they want more bluuuuue money

      The Cubs are no longer the loveable losers they are just losers that steal and give excuses to its fans

      Wait wait – until next year – wait wait two more years – wait wait wait til the year 2017 – but wait let wait until the year 2000 and 19 -20 -21 – 22 –
      When the Cubs finally reach the fable World Series – i will be watching from heaven like the the generation before, unless That aweful mean ricketts family decise to charge God for promised memories and sell the devil the feed

      Sing the Blues Cub fans

      • MichiganGoat

        Well that was just horribly stupid but thanks for playing, I think you’d feel better if you just abandoned all things Cubs and join Cardinal National you’d fit right in with thier best fans ever belief.

  • terencemann

    I think Sipp passed through waivers earlier this season?

  • Frank da tank

    Astro’s DFA’d J.D. Martinez. Any chances cubs kick this tires on him for a platoon OF?

    • Woody

      That’s precisely the sort of groundbreaking trade for an aggressive young go-getter that will help put the 2014 Cubs over the top ! I LIKE it !

  • nkiacc13

    I would guess the Cubs take a RULE 5 guy so they will be making a bunch of moves and I think it will be more the trade than the signing variety

  • Die hard

    Pitching is not the issue– just score 6 every game and Cubs win WS — even 5 may get them there — hopefully mgr convinces Theo to give him more hitters

    • MichiganGoat

      Well obviously… if any team can score 6 runs a game they are going to be very successful and likely champions. Except no team in the last few years (if ever in the modern era) has ever averaged 6 runs a game- the Yankees did avg 5.91 in 2007. Oh well try again.

    • cub2014

      Pitching isnt the issue but to compete for the WS
      we will need to add a #1 starter. How do we do that?

      Well of the top 30 starters here is some interesting facts”

      1. 15 are 1st rounders (avg pick 12th)
      2. 8 are international FA (the latest 2 are from Japan)
      3. 2 are 2nd rounders (travis wood 2nd round)
      4. 30yrs old or under 23 of the 30
      5. Over 35yrs old only 1 (Colon)
      6. Avg age of the top 10 (26yrs old)

      Of the top 10 they are all 1st rounders or IFA
      So theoretically nearly 1 draft pick every year
      becomes a top 10 starter in about 4 years.

      Unless you trade, you have to sign an IFA or draft
      someone in the top 12 of the 1st round and wait.

      • Chad

        Which of those are on playoff teams, or above .500 teams. Because do we really care where the Astros or the Cubs #1 came from. That probably skews the facts a bit, because Detroit has 2 #1s and the cubs don’t have a legit 1 on most good teams.

        • cub2014

          it was the top 30 pitchers in baseball, not by team.

      • MichiganGoat

        Luke posted a really interesting though experiment on the message board concerning the need for an Ace to win the WS. http://www.bleachernation.com/forum/index.php?/topic/2830-thought-experiment-worst-winning-rotation/ its worth a read and a thought.

        • MichiganGoat

          damn “Thought” not “though” stupid ios7 keyboard

        • cub2014

          goat, good article but to win in the
          playoffs you need at least 2 aces
          unless you offense is ridiculous.

          right now i would settle for just
          competing to get in the playoffs

          • Norm

            Two aces?
            How many aces does Boston have?

            • cub2014

              true about bostons pitching , i also said
              “if you have a ridiculous offense”

              i am just saying (in my opinion) most
              teams have those 2 studs that are tops
              in the league or are giant killers in
              the playoffs

              the cubs dont have that and where will
              they go and get that. the solid starters
              can be added every year, but there is
              only a couple of ways to get the TOR

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