October 14, 2013


If history continues to repeat itself, the Cubs will sign one or two starting pitchers this off-season with the sole purpose of rehabbing them in order to flip them at the trade deadline. Usual candidates include pitchers coming off arm surgery, or who have not had a good season in three years.

The free agent starter crop (age) includes:

Bronson Arroyo (37)
Scott Baker (32)
Erik Bedard (35)
A.J. Burnett (37)
Chris Carpenter (39)
Bruce Chen (37)
Bartolo Colon (41)
Scott Feldman (30)
Gavin Floyd (31)
Jeff Francis (33)
Freddy Garcia (37)
Jon Garland (34)
Matt Garza (30)
Chad Gaudin (31)
Roy Halladay (37)
Jason Hammel (31)
Dan Haren (33)
Roberto Hernandez (33)
Tim Hudson (38)
Phil Hughes (28)
Phil Humber (30)
Josh Johnson (30)
Jeff Karstens (31)
Scott Kazmir (30)
Hiroki Kuroda (39)
Colby Lewis (34)
Ted Lilly (38)
Tim Lincecum (30)
Paul Maholm (32)
Shaun Marcum (32)
Jason Marquis (35)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (33)
Randy Messenger (32)
Ricky Nolasco (31)
Roy Oswalt (35)
Mike Pelfrey (30)
Ervin Santana (31)
Jason Vargas (31)
Edinson Volquez (30)
Chien-Ming Wang (34)

Several pitchers are poised for long term, big money contracts: Arroyo, J. Johnson, Garza, Nolasco, Pelfrey and Santana. These players are all off the Cub radar.

Also not in the mix are former Cub projects who have gone on to better things: Baker, Feldman, Maholm, Lilly, and Marquis.

You then have a crop of pitchers with down seasons who need to work through their issues: Volquez, Haren, Francis, Lincecum Hughes,and Kazmir.

Then you have the class of old pitchers whose time may have past: Kuroda, Hudson, Halladay, Garcia, Oswalt, Carpenter and Colon.

Then you have the pitchers with injuries or histories of injury problems: Floyd, Wang, and Garland.

Of all the pitchers on the list that fit the Cubs M.O. on scrapheap reclamation projects, Hughes, Humber and possibly Floyd fit the bill. Hughes was 4-15, 5.19 ERA last year for the Yankees. He has fallen out of favor and needs a change of venue (and less pressure) to regain his form. Humber is a former White Sox pitcher with a no-hitter on his resume, but has been lost for the last two seasons. He would come cheap. Floyd's last full year was in 2012 where he went 12-11, 4.29 ERA for the White Sox. And injury derailed his 2013 campaign early.

Given the Baker expensive debacle this year, I think the Cubs would look toward Hughes and Humber as 4th and 5th starters next year, with the idea of moving them at the trade deadline.