It has been known for a few weeks now that the Cubs front office has been keen on upgrading the bullpen. Whether or not that includes the likes of Carlos Marmol remains to be seen, but a name that had been tossed into the ring in conjunction with the Winter Meetings was Jason Grilli. The veteran pitcher had considered the Cubs as one of the finalists for his services. At that point he had been trying to leverage the multi team interest into a third year being added to the offers on the table.
July 25, 2012: Pittsburgh, PA, USA: Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39) throws against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Pugliese-USA TODAY Sports
Grilli and his agent Gary Sheffield finished off that counter offer stance by saying that the pitcher would just as well return to Pittsburgh if there were no three year offers made. Sure enough, CBSSports.com is reporting that this afternoon Grilli has signed a two year deal to remain a Pirate.
With no other bullpen arms rumored of late, it will be interesting to see how the front office will proceed with their goal of strengthening the pen. With the Cubs not guaranteeing a third year on Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa, it is understandable that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer held their ground on their supposed two year offer to Grilli.
One name that Cubs fans should keep their hopes up on is Jaye Chapman. You may recall that he was non tendered by the Cubs in a bit of a surprise move. Hoyer has commented that the Cubs would like to resign all of their non tenders, and so far the Cubs are one for one with the return of Ian Stewart. Chapman held his own as a late season call up after coming over from the Braves system in the Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson trade, and the rebuilding Cubs would be wise to see what the young arm can do out of the pen over the course of a full season.