I can’t quite blame the Royals for going after Kris Medlen, and I also can’t blame Medlen for latching on with a team where he’ll have a very good chance to re-establish himself after a second Tommy John surgery. I just thought he was a good target for the Cubs.
The Royals just announced the two-year deal with Medlen, which comes with a mutual option for a third year. Ken Rosenthal says the deal includes $8.5 million guaranteed.
As has been the case with all of the lottery tickets thus far – Justin Masterson, Brett Anderson, Brandon Morrow – it takes a relatively healthy guarantee to get these guys to sign, even if they come with huge risk. That’s especially true of Medlen, but, teams are willing to gamble marginal cash on the upside.
The Cubs’ superior back-end depth simultaneously makes them the kind of team that could be in a great position to roll the dice on one of these deals (because they can cover it, positionally, if the guy busts), but also the kind of team that doesn’t really have to roll the dice on one of these deals (because they might be able to get as much upside (which is to say 4/5 performance) from guys already on the roster like Travis Wood or Edwin Jackson or Felix Doubront or Tsuyoshi Wada).
It’s just about time to move on from these types, as they’re disappearing rapidly for more money than is going to make sense for the Cubs, specifically. Those final dollars are probably best spent on the offensive side, or on a sure-fire starting pitcher (depending on how other moves – cost-saving or otherwise – shake out the rest of the way).