The popular name over the past month for the Chicago Cubs’ hot stove has been rehabbing starting pitcher Brandon Webb. The Cubs have done extensive research on the medical reports of Webb, who is trying to come back after missing the past two seasons. All along, the Cubs were figured to be one of the, if not the front runners to land Webb. Considering that the Cubs have a need for a veteran starting pitcher, but at the same time could not spend much money, Webb would have been a good option for the Chicago Cubs.
That does not seem like a likely scenario anymore, as Webb may have priced himself out of the Cubs budget. Reports over the past few days have suggested that Webb could be in line to receive guaranteed money, as much as $7.5MM for one year. With these demands, coupled with the Rangers appearing to be nearing a deal with Webb, it all leads to the Cubs no longer being part of the Brandon Webb sweepstakes.
As much as I wanted to see Webb become a Chicago Cub, the Cubs are doing the right thing by taking themselves out of the bidding for his services. While Webb is one of the best pitchers in the game when he is healthy, he is coming off of a shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the past two seasons. Meaning it is kind of outrageous for Webb to be seeking $7.5MM, and the Rangers will be even more foolish if they give him that much. That is the same foolishness that has led to many Cubs fans wanting a new regime in the front office. However, now that Jim Hendry actually is controlling the players he brings in, you no longer are seeing the Cubs make the same crippling mistakes -like signing Webb for $7.5MM- that they use to make in previous years. You have to applaud Hendry for not being willing to offer guaranteed money, especially $7.5MM, to a guy in Brandon Webb who has not played in two seasons.
With Webb apparently out of the Cubs plans, this probably puts an end to the Cubs search for a starting pitcher through the free agent market. Increasing the chances that the Cubs will trade for a starting pitcher. The Chicago Cubs still remain heavily focused on trying to trade for Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. However, the Yankees, Rangers, and possibly the Twins are all interested in Garza as well. If the Twins re-sign Carl Pavano as expected, and the Rangers do indeed sign Brandon Webb then both of those teams may no longer be interested in trading for Garza. As for the Yankees, it is highly unlikely that the Rays would be willing to trade one of their top starters to a division rival. Meaning, the Cubs may still be the leading candidates to land Garza.
However, that is not to say that the Rays may end up holding onto Garza for the start of the regular season. No one really knows what the Rays true intentions are. We do know, though, that the Cubs and Rays have talked on multiple occasions about a Garza trade. The names in which the Cubs would be giving up remain the same – catching prospect Robinson Chirinos along with shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee (although the Cubs may be hesitant to trade him), as well as two pitching prospects.
In the same report, Levine notes that the Cubs may kick the tires on Indians starter Fausto Carmona. That does not appear to be a realistic option for the Cubs, considering the Indians asking price is believed to be for a team’s top two prospects.
The Chicago Cubs have yet to announce a corresponding roster move to the Kerry Wood signing, meaning they are still 1 player over the 40 man roster limitation.