David DeJesus, and Joel Pineiro Among Possible FA Targets


There are only a few more hours left for the exclusive negotiating window between team’s and their own free agents. Once the clock strikes 12:01 on the Eastern Coast, teams will be allowed to talk to any free agent they desire. I will be the first to admit that in recent weeks the playing roster and improvements to it have taken a back-seat to the Theo Epstein news and various front office changes, but Cubbies Crib is kicking off our Hot Stove coverage with this post. This post will sort of be a blueprint for free agents that the Cubs may pursue, or free agents that the Cubs have already been linked to.

With Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in place, I would imagine that the Cubs are in store for a very busy off-season. One that will likely see Epstein and Hoyer searching for talented players all throughtout the league. Going into the Hot Stove season the Cubs have a need at first base, third base, starting pitching, and could be in the market for a corner outfielder. With that said lets take a look at possible free agents that Epstein and Hoyer may contact in the coming weeks.

David DeJesus, Outfielder: After being one of premeire players on the Kansas City Royals for the first eigth years of his career, DeJesus was traded to the Oakland Athletics prior to last season. With the Athletics, DeJesus was a shell of the player he was with the Royals. DeJesus hit .240/.323/.376/.699 with the Athletics last season while playing in 131 games. Those numbers are not an accurate assessment of DeJesus, as he is a career .284/.356/.421/.777 hitter. Judging how Theo Epstein operated while with the Red Sox, DeJesus is the type of player he could be interested in. At 31, DeJesus should still be capable of putting up respectable numbers, and could be a low-risk, high-reward move for the Cubs’ front office. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors predicted that the Cubs would sign DeJesus.

Grady Sizemore, Outfielder: For much of the same reasons why the Cubs could pursue DeJesus, they could pursure Sizemore. The Cleveland Indians delcined Sizemore’s option for the 2012 season after the outfielder struggled with injuries in each of the past two seasons. However, when Sizemore is on the field and healthy, he is a productive outfielder. The last time Sizemore played more than 100 games in a season was in 2009, and the outfielder produced a line of .248/.343/.445/.788 with 18 home runs. Nothing spectactular, but Sizemore was once a 30-30-30 player and considering he is only 29, he could be another type of player that Epstein is willing to gamble on. Though, you would have to wonder how much Sizemore’s track record of injuries will affect how he plays for the rest of the his career.

Joel Pineiro, Starting Pitcher: Like DeJesus, MLB Trade Rumors also predicted that the Cubs would sign Pineiro. The Cubs were interested in the former St Louis Cardinals’ pitcher before he signed with the Los Angeles Angels after the 2009 season. A move back to the National League would likely benefit Pineiro, who posted a 7-7 record this season to go along with an ERA of 5.13. But the Cubs’ brain-trust knows that they need to improve the starting rotation this winter, and if Pineiro could pitch like the pitcher who won 15 games for the Cardinals in 2009, he could be a great bargain for Epstein and the Cubs.

Mark Buehrle, Starting Pitcher: A recent Chicago Tribune report suggested that the Cubs could have interest in Buehrle, though, only at the right price. I wonder though, if the Cubs’ only interest in Buehrle is to drive up the market price for their rivals in the Chicago White Sox and St Louis Cardinals. Buehrle is believed to be torn between the White Sox and Cardinals, and using a practice he used while general manager of the Red Sox, Epstein could drive up Buehrle’s price for both teams. In the end, I can’t imagine that Buehrle has much interest in coming to the Cubs. Though if he did, it would be the midwest version of Johnny Damon going from the Red Sox to the New York Yankees.

While those are only four names, I expect the Cubs to scour the waiver wire and be all over the second wave of free agents once December comes around. Note that in addition to no Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, I did not mention a single first or third baseman. Reason being because I do not think the Cubs are going to fill those positions through free agency. I get the sense that Bryan LaHair is going to be the Opening Day starting first baseman for the Cubs, and that the Cubs starting third baseman for the 2012 season is currently on another team. As always the case, time will tell. Though, this is certainly going to be a fun and entertaining time for Cubs’ fans.