Here’s an interesting tidbit from Jon Heyman:

We’d heard previously that the Cubs were in on reliever Brad Ziegler back at the start of this month, but that was before the team traded for Wade Davis AND signed Koji Uehara. And Ziegler did not ultimately sign with the Marlins (two years, $18 million) until this past weekend.

Connecting those dots, then, it seems like what Heyman heard is that the Cubs were this mystery team:

So, then, if Heyman is correct, the Cubs were pursuing Ziegler – one of the better relievers left on the board – even after adding Wade Davis and Koji Uehara to a bullpen group that includes Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., Justin Grimm, Felix Pena, Brian Duensing, and many more.

What do we think about that? Well, allow me to do some thinking out loud.

On the one hand, the Cubs did not land Ziegler, so we have no idea what their offer(s) looked like. Maybe the interest was mild, and merely bargain-hunting in nature. On the other hand – maybe it’s the same hand? – the Cubs know they need pitching depth out the wazoo, in whatever form they can get. And on that third hand that you didn’t know you had, the Cubs could plausibly have added Ziegler and freed up the possibility of moving a reliever out to pick up a cost-controlled starter (or at least an up-and-down-with-options-remaining starter). That last one seems a stretch, but adding Ziegler sure would have created an apparent glut (and that’s before considering the possibility that adding another starting pitcher this offseason could push Mike Montgomery back into the bullpen).

All in all, for now, there’s not too much to take away from this. Maybe the Cubs just really liked Ziegler, figured they could get a good deal, and would figure out the rest later. Or maybe the Cubs saw a bunch of other NL teams involved in the bidding, and wanted to elbow the price up a bit.

Unless they make some surprise moves from here on out in the bullpen, we’ll probably never quite know how exactly this would have shaken out.


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