The Chicago Cubs must miss the Mark Prior days. The days of investing our hopes in a pitcher, who rarely sees the pitcher’s mound for a Major League team. As Ed Price of AOL FanHouse is reporting that the Chicago Cubs are seriously considering adding Brandon Webb, and have been in talks with Webb’s agent, Jonathan Maurer.
Before we get going, we should mention that Webb has not pitched in the Major Leagues since opening day of the 2009 season. Webb has been sidelined due to Shoulder surgery that he had in August of 2009. He has spent the time between then rehabbing, and appears ready to return to the Major Leagues. When Webb is completely healthy, he is arguably the best pitcher in the game. Webb won the Cy Young Award in 2006 with the Diamondbacks, when he had a record of 16-8 with an ERA of 3.10. He finished second in voting the next two seasons, which included a 22 win campaign in 2008.
If healthy, Webb, would be a great fit for Chicago Cubs and in Wrigley Field. Webb has a home run ratio of 0.63, which is a resulting effect from his great sinker that he likes to use. Prior to his Shoulder Surgery, Webb has consistently gone over 225 innings pitched the last 4 seasons he was healthy. However, it remains to be seen how much the surgery affected Webb’s durability.
Webb’s Agent, Maurer, provided details of Webb’s Rehab status to MLB Trade Rumors earlier this month…
"Brandon pitched for the first time competitively (in 17 months) in September and October in three instructional games. The first game, Webb threw 80% and was 78-80 mph. The second game Webb was closer to 90% and was 81-83, and the third game, Webb, still laying back a bit, was 81-85. The reality is that Brandon showed good pitchability (he had strong movement on his signature sinker, plus plus change, and plus breaking ball). What he also had was some rust on location. Brandon’s velocity is of very little concern to those that watch a lot of games. His arm strength is indeed coming back, and honestly, he pitched at 87-90 all of 2008 (when he won 22 games) and that is only 2-5 mph off where he was in October. Brandon’s surgeon, Dr. Keith Meister, fully expects him to prepare at a normal pace to be ready when camp opens in February, for whomever signs him. Brandon is hungry, excited, and ready to start 30 plus times in 2011. There is nothing to indicate he won’t, with all the work he has put in and his consistent offseason workout program."
So, Webb,31, does appear ready to make a full recovery come the beginning of the 2011 season. However, given the fact that Webb has been sidelined for over a year and there is a risk factor, I’m sure the Cubs or any other team interested will only give him a short term deal that is incentive laden.
With Javier Vazquez and Jon Garland seemingly off the market, Webb may be the best option for the Chicago Cubs. When healthy, he could potentially be the ace of a rotation, something the Cubs have been lacking for the past two seasons. The high ceiling for success on Webb, should also be reason enough for the Cubs to sign him. From the looks of it, the Cubs may have the inside track on signing him.