There weren’t many good free agent options remaining for the Cubs when it came to their fifth starter and utility infielder holes, and now those choices have become even fewer with the news that pitcher Braden Looper and infielder Rich Aurilia have been snapped up by other teams. First Looper: The 34-year-old has reportedly agreed to a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, who are scrambling to rebuild their rotation after losing both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. Looper was a reliever most of his life, putting in a stint as closer for both the Marlins and Mets, but was made into a starter by Tony LaRussa and put together back-to-back 12-win seasons. He might’ve made a passable replacement for Jason Marquis at the tail end of the Cubs’ rotation but was never anything to get excited about, and anyway, I still think the Cubs can plug that hole with in-house options until Jake Peavy becomes available at the trade deadline.
As for Aurilia: The San Francisco Chronicle reports the 37-year-old journeyman rejected minor-league offers from the Cubs, Phillies and Blue Jays to sign a minor-league deal with the Giants. Obviously, this was a case of Aurilia wanting to stick with the familiar – he had played with San Fran the last two years and has been in that organization for the majority of his career, going back to the early ’90s. He was never going to make us forget Mark DeRosa…but then again, who ever could?