Lukewarm Stove: Braves Pitchers, Free Agent Pitchers, Soriano

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Lukewarm Stove: Braves Pitchers, Free Agent Pitchers, Soriano

Chicago Cubs

The pitching theme continues, as it will for some time …

  • Gordon Wittenmyer believes the Cubs will be going after guys like Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, and Shaun Marcum this offseason, which is an interesting trio to list. In many ways, they are the three best pitchers on the market after Zack Greinke, and possibly Dan Haren. I would be surprised to see the Cubs land two of those three, but, if they did, the rotation suddenly starts to look credible, if not downright good. Garza/Samardzija/Sanchez/Jackson/Wood? It lacks a true ace (many rotations do), but it’s deep and offers quite a bit of upside. It’s still extraordinarily early in the offseason, and I still believe we’re going to see a pitcher or two come in by way of trade, but that’s about the best rotation you could sort-of-maybe-kinda-realistically hope to see the Cubs field in 2013. Let me caution you and plant my flag here: I think Sanchez is going to get far, far more money than folks are thinking. He’s not a “cheap” option, particularly in this market.
  • Phil Rogers also mentions Marcum as a possible Cubs target, together with Ervin Santana, whom we’ve discussed here before.
  • In truth, here’s the thing on the starting pitching market: other than Greinke, Haren, and probably Ryan Dempster, I have a hard time ruling out any pitcher from the Cubs’ possible plans, especially those that are 31 and younger.
  • And I’ve mentioned him before, but it’s worth reiterating: a guy like Carlos Villanueva is a perfect fit for the Cubs. He wants to start, but his current team (the Blue Jays) doesn’t think he can be an effective starter. Because that view is probably shared by a number of other teams, Villanueva’s options are limited if he’s set on starting (and trying to make more money in the long-run by succeeding as a starter). And the teams that can give him the opportunity to start for the majority of the season even if he struggles are also limited. A team not expected to be in contention, but that still wants to add a few free agent pitchers like the Cubs? Yup, that’s a perfect fit.
  • The Atlanta Braves are poised to go into 2013 with the following starting pitchers theoretical available to start for them: Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm, Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, and a few other upper minors types. And that’s without mentioning Jair Jurrjens (who’s likely to be non-tendered, and could be a reclamation type for the Cubs) and Brandon Beachy (who won’t be back until late in the second half after Tommy John surgery). Yes, teams like to have depth, but given the Braves’ increasingly tight pursestrings, you can imagine they’ll consider dealing a young arm or two. What a deal might look like involving the Cubs – who, yes please, want some young pitching – is anyone’s guess, but maybe the Cubs could take Dan Uggla‘s contract off of the Braves’ hands ($13 million per for the next three years) in exchange for picking up someone like Delgado (we know the Cubs like him … ), while sending back a couple good positional prospects and/or Darwin Barney (which, I know: sacrilegious)? Or maybe the Cubs would target Tommy Hanson, who is coming off a down year, and is about to get a healthy raise in his first year of arbitration?
  • From Nick Cafardo: “After finishing with 32 homers and 108 RBI, it appears the Cubs should have suitors for him this offseason. Soriano makes so much sense for a team like the Rays as their DH, especially since Theo Epstein would pick up most of the final two years of Soriano’s deal. Soriano could also help the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Indians.” You still can’t put it at better than 50/50 Soriano is dealt this Winter (and, depending on the return, it’s still debatable what the right move is), but the uptick in “Soriano is good and worth trading for” stories we’re seeing at the national level is not meaningless.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.