Free agency begins five days after the end of the World Series, and the list of 2013 Cubs who will be on the market include pitchers Scott Baker, Matt Guerrier and Kevin Gregg, and catcher Dioner Navarro.
Baker, 32, spent the entire 2013 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery after signing a one-year deal worth $5.5 million last November. Cubs management indicated they want a right-hander like Baker in their rotation.
Guerrier, 35, was dealt from the Los Angles Dodgers in the Carlos Marmol deal. His season came to end due to right elbow soreness on Aug. 8 after only 15 games.
Gregg, 35, became the Cubs savoir in the first half of the season when Marmol struggled and Kyuji Fujikawa out with an elbow injury. Gregg posted his third consecutive season with 30 saves but saw the season end with him Theo Epstein’s, Cubs president of baseball operations, office after miscommunication about his role and management wanting to look at Pedro Strop in the closer role late in the season.
Navarro, 29, the Cubs backup catcher batted .300 with 13 home runs in the No. 4 spot after Alfonso Soriano was traded to the New York Yankees. The Cubs have stated Welington Castillo is the starting catcher and Navarro has accepted his role as a backup.
Who will they sign?
All three pitchers are right-handers with Gregg and Guerrier being relief pitchers. The Cubs are likely to bring back Baker to a one or two-year deal. Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson look to the be the top three in the rotation with Chris Rusin, Jake Arrieta, and possibily Carlos Villanueva rounding it out. Baker would likely fill the back half or serve as a mid-reliever.
Gregg will not be back. After his second half slump and his outburst the Cubs will have Strop on the mound in the closer role. The Cubs tried to deal Gregg at the trade deadline last season and came up empty so, signing him to trade for prospects is not an option this year.
The Cubs have exclusive negotiating rights with the four until Monday.