The Chicago Cubs figured that they would have enough time to find the right starter on the free agent market that they were in search of. We know that the Cubs have targeted Aaron Harang, Jeff Francis, Brandon Webb, and Erik Bedard. Three of their targets already appear to be off the market. Aaron Harang has signed a deal with the San Diego Padres; Erik Bedard has returned to the Seattle Mariners; Jeff Francis appears to be headed to the New York Mets.
With this in mind, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweeted yesterday that the Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Brandon Webb. Along with the Cubs, Crasnick mentions that the Nationals have increased their efforts to sign Brandon Webb as well. Almost a deja vu to last winter, when the Cubs and Nationals battled for the services of reliever Matt Capps.
The Nationals are basically looking to come away with something from the Free Agent market. As, the Nationals had their sights on Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, and Jorge De La Rosa and have swung and missed with all of them. Which leaves them going after Brandon Webb, who they are expected to have a meeting with at the Winter Meetings.
Meanwhile, the Cubs are interested in a mid-rotation starter who chews up a lot of innings. Coming off of shoulder surgery, Brandon Webb may not be the best option for a guy who can chew up innings. However, Brandon Webb does have the highest ceiling of all the reclamation pitchers that the Cubs are looking at. The Cubs have been in constant discussions with Webb’s agent, and the sides figure to meet at the Winter Meetings.
Given the fact that Webb has essentially missed the past two seasons, it is hard to project what type of a deal he is going to get. If Webb is healthy and ready to go, then it should not be ruled out that either the Cubs or Nationals could give him a low-risk major league contract. Or, I could also see either team giving Webb a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Either way, the Chicago Cubs are going to be able to afford Webb, that is if they sign him.