Cubs Like Jake Westbrook

This week figures to be a important week for the Chicago Cubs, as they look forward to improving their team for the 2011 season. As for the next five days, all 30 baseball general managers will be in Orlando, Florida for the first of the two annual off-season GM meetings. For the most part, these meetings set the stages for the Winter Meetings later in the year, December 6th through December 9th.

Among the things that Chicago Cubs are looking for this winter are a left handed first baseman, a veteran starting pitcher, and a veteran reliever. Bruce Levine, who is covering the GM meetings for ESPN Chicago, reports that the Cubs already have their sights on a starting pitcher.

According to Levine, Jake Westbrook is a veteran starting pitcher that the Cubs like. Westbrook’s 2010 season was the story of two teams. He started the season with the Cleveland Indians in the American League, where he went 6-7 with an ERA of 4.65. Then, Westbrook was traded to the National League to the St Louis Cardinals. With the Cardinals, Westbrook went 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA. In total, Westbrook finished the season with a record of 10-11 while consummating a 4.22 ERA.  When healthy, Westbrook consistently goes over 200 innings pitched in a season.

Jake Westbrook would be an ideal fit for the Chicago Cubs. Considering that the Cubs are looking for a mid-rotation starter who is capable of going deep into games, Westbrook fits the bill almost perfectly. Another reason Westbrook is good fit with the Chicago Cubs, is because he has a 62.8% ground ball rate against national league teams. That figures to bold well for Westbrook if he does come to the Cubs, considering Wrigley Field is typically a homer-friendly park in the summer.

Jake Westbrook is expected to command a two year deal worth around $15MM, with an option for a third year. However, according to Levine, insiders expect the Cubs payroll to drop about 5 to 7%. Which would leave Jim Hendry with around $7MM to use in free agency, however, that does not include the potential trade of Kosuke Fukudome.

In the same report, Levine reported that the Chicago Cubs intent is too bring Kerry Wood back as a set-up man to Carlos Marmol. Wood also would likely want to come back to the Cubs, that is of course, the Cubs can make an appropriate offer to him.

While, I don’t anticipate the Cubs making any moves this week, I think General Manager Jim Hendry will lay the groundwork for the completion of one or two deals in the coming weeks.

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Tags: Chicago Cubs GM Meetings Hot Stove Jake Westbrook Jim Hendry Kerry Wood Kosuke Fukudome MLB

  • RS 10

    No Jake

  • RS 10

    Bruce: The Cubs should have money to work with. 2010 payroll -30M for Lee & Lilly, add arbitration deals & half of Fuku contract to dump him, 10M cut in payroll still leaves something to work with. This is Jakes big payday, he’s nothing more than Jason Marquis. Z is going nowhere, Dempster, Wells, Silva has another year, Gorz with Archer, Coleman & Smarj comming. Jake will have a lot of teams willing to overpay.
    Adam Dunn is dying to come to WF. He is a cosistant run producer, good OB good power & RBI 260 ave and he doesn’t get hurt. He defense is poor but so is Prince, R Howard, Huff & many other 1B men. This team needs to SCORE MORE RUNS. Without Theriot SB leader the last 3 years, they have no speed at all and its not comming from 1stbase. Dunn would probably give the Cubs a discount in either years or dollars to play at WF. We don’t need Jake.

    • joehan

      Thanks for your post RS 10. I agree that the Cubs SHOULD have some money to spend this off season (more than they are letting on so far), [URL=""]per my post several days ago[/URL].

      The question will be whether or not the Cubs will choose to spend these “savings” and what kind of PR spin they will put on it if they don’t spend it.

      I’m not sold on Westbrook’s numbers compared to what he may command on the open market this off season, but hopefully for the budget concious Cubs the fairly deep middle rotation pitcher market will help keep costs down. Jon Garland has been mentioned by our lead writer Jordan before, and Brandon Webb is a name that has been floated out there as well.

      So far the middle rotation market has only seen Ted Lilly resign with the Dodgers for about the same money on average per year that he signed for with the Cubs four years ago. Granted he may have given a slight home town discount to stay in his home state California, but it may be a sign that the middle rotation pitcher market will not be inflated as it will for Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt.

      You make a good point about Dunn’s defense ability compared to Prince, Ryan Howard, and even Huff, but in the case of the latter two they had veteran infielders like J Roll/Chase Utley and Edgar Renteria throwing over to them versus the young Starlin Castro and an error prone A Ram (at least last season) in the Cub infield. Again, the hope (maybe dream) is that the Cubs some how swing a deal for A Gonz, but otherwise I hope the Cubs go defense minded first at 1B and try to find their power internally from a progressing Tyler Colvin in RF, a contract year A Ram at 3B, a progressing Starlin Castro (although he probably won’t hit more than 10 HRs next year), and a clear headed Geo Soto at C who now realizes he has to continue to put his work in to perform well and consistently at the MLB level.

      Then we address the power issue again in 2012 with potential holes at 3B and 1B (I prefer a one year band aid at 1B for 2011).

    • joehan

      RS 10 you need to worry no more. You got your wish. It looks like Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports just Tweeted that the Cards have resigned Westbrook to a two year deal at an average of $8.25 million a year.

      Again, this is a little more than the Cubs may be hoping to spend on a middle of the rotation starter, but this seems to be the going rate in the market right now.

      It will be interesting to see if this forces the hand of Hendry and Co. to act quickly on Jon Garland. There shouldn’t be much to negotiate and discuss as the market price seems to be set. Its a matter of whether the Cubs will admit that they can afford Garland for two or three years, and whether there is mutual interest (which has been rumored to exist).

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