The Free Agent frenzy is in full swing as we enter the calm before the storm. It won’t be long before somebody makes a splash and topples the dominoes over one after another. The Cubs are searching for a right-handed reliever to anchor the bullpen. Let’s examine the best of the best and try to decide who will be the best fit.
It has been reported that the Cubs might have interest in re-signing Kerry Wood, although it is unclear if the Yankees will make a push to retain his services. New York declined on the club option for 2011, but that does not mean that the Yankees will re-negotiate another contract. Jim Hendry has a good relationship with Wood and has stated that the Cubs would be interested if the price was right. Many Cub fans are nervous about bringing back Kerry Wood since, in previous years, Wood was plagued by injuries and never reached his potential. To his credit, Wood had an outstanding second half last year and looked impressive in the playoffs. Once a Cub, always a Cub. You never know, he may be a good fit. Personally, I like him, but again, Kerry Wood carries a risk with him.
Other right-handed relief pitchers in the free agent class will be listed below, however, I have only included pitchers younger than Kerry Wood, 34, since it doesn’t make alot of sense to waste money on aging arms. No disrespect intended, I need to narrow the field down in some way as there are too many to list.
Grant Balfour, who pitched for the Rays last season and had a 2.28 ERA.
Joaquin Benoit, also a Ray, had a 1.34 ERA in 63 games last year.
Jesse Crain is one of the better pitchers available this year. He has a career 3.42 ERA, with a 33-21 record. He has been very consistent in his 7 years with the Twins.
Chad Durbin posted a 3.80 ERA with the Phillies last season. He seems to be a good pick-up, but probably not an anchor.
Kelvim Escobar is a veteran with 12 years under his belt. He has a career 101-91 record , with a 4.15 ERA and 1,310 K’s.
Jason Frasor, born in Chicago, went to Oak Forest High School, played 7 seasons at Toronto and compiled a 22-27 record, but has a 3.76 ERA over that span. He seems to be a solid pitcher.
Matt Guerrier has a career 3.38 ERA and is a solid, consistent reliever.
Micah Owings, a top prospect, has gone 18-3 in the minors with a 3.00 ERA. He went 11-0 in Triple A with a 3.15 ERA. A very good prospect.
J.J. Putz has been a prized reliever. He has a career 30-24 win-loss record and a 3.19 ERA.
Jon Rauch is 34-37, with a 3.71 ERA.
Dan Wheeler, the former Tampa Bay Ray reliever has a career 3.84 ERA in 11 seasons.
This is the list of the top right-handed relief pitchers on the Free Agent Market. The above pitchers are still young and have a bright future ahead of them. Any one of them would make a fine addition to the Cubs’ Pitching Staff. We’ll see what happens. Who do you think the Cubs should acquire for right-handed relief? Leave a comment in THE SUGGESTION BOX.