As yesterdays non tender deadline passed, many interesting free agents were dumped into the player pool. A number of these could make sense on a Cubs team that has more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese. I’m going to take a look at some of these potential targets and how they might fit in to the teams 2014 plans.
According to John Arguello of CubsDen, the team does have interest in two former Red Sox, so I will look at them first.
— John Arguello (@CubsDen) December 3, 2013
RHP Andrew Bailey– 2013 was another lost season for Bailey. Injuries have derailed the once dominant rookie of the years career. Still Bailey has been effective when healthy and would be a nice cheap pickup for any team as he tries to rebuild his value heading into the 2015 season. Bailey is going to miss time, but once he returns from his shoulder injury he could be able to insert himself into the back end of the Cubs bullpen should he prove healthy.
OF Ryan Kalish– Another former Red Sox, Kalish can play all three outfield spots and would be a very nice pickup for a Cubs team that doesn’t have anything resembling a major league center fielder on its roster. Like Bailey however, Kalish has suffered from his fair share of injuries. The once promising 25 year old missed the entire 2013 season with a shoulder injury so he is another player who is no where near a guarantee to be able to contribute for a full season.
RHP Tommy Hanson– Hanson was down right awful in 2013. His K/9 and BB/9 were both career worsts and most advanced metrics slammed him. But what appeal is there then? Remember that there is always buy low appeal in starting pitching. Hanson should not cost more than a low cost one year deal as he also looks to rebuild his value, so he might want to head to a team like the Cubs that have a rotation spot open for him to do so.
OF Sam Fuld– If the Cubs are really interested in completely tanking any chance at offense from the center field position they may want to consider signing Sam Fuld. The defensive wizard can’t hit a lick, but he is one of the premier defensive outfielders in all of baseball.
RHP Ronald Belisario– Belisario was one of the more puzzling non tenders out there this year. The middle reliever has been incredibly effective over the past two years, continuously posting a FIP in the mid 3s and soaking up about 70 innings. Belisario figures to be highly coveted now that he is hitting the market, so the Cubs may lose out on a competitive market for the reliever, but he should still stay firmly on the teams radar as the try and rebuild the bullpen.
RHP John Axford– Axford started the season as a mess for the Brewers, but after being moved to St. Louis he seemed to find his groove again. SIERA remained kind to Axford and his strikeout rate still sat at a very good 9 strikeouts per 9 innings, so there is still something here. Should his home run rate regress a little bit he has a shot at returning to his former dominant self. However, he might not be the best fit for Wrigley Field with that high home run rate, and he may look to try and move to a less homer friendly stadium. Dabynsky recently looked at Axford here.
RHP Ryan Webb– Webb was another slightly surprising non tender. Webb has consistently posted strong FIPs in the 3s over the past few seasons with Miami so it is a bit puzzling as to why the team would let him go. Webb’s groundball rates are very strong and his home run rate is low so he would be the perfect kind of reliever for the Cubs, as his skillset should transfer over to Wrigley very well.