Cubs Short A Penny

The Cubs should have signed Brad Penny before Boston did this week.

Instead, the Red Sox make another brilliant move by bringing in a top of the rotation pitcher for 1-year at $5 million.

Certainly, it’s a high-risk move for any club that signs a 30-year-old power-pitcher coming off a season plagued by arm troubles.

But, why not take a chance on a guy who’s 19 games above .500 for his career (9 years) and has averaged 135 Ks from 2005-07 (Penny started just 17 games in 2008 with 51 punchouts).

Plus, the best part is it’s a 1-year deal, if Penny fails to return to his All Star form the Sox simple move on without him – and putting it that way makes the deal seem more low-risk than anything else.

Sure, there’s a $3 million dollar performance bonus in Penny’s new deal but, that means the high-risk move has paid off in high-risk rewards.

For Chicago it’s all about the post season…and post season games are won with pitching, especially power-arms the likes of Penny.

There’s no question the Cubs already have a solid rotation without Penny: Dempster, Zambrano, Lilly, Harden…but, there’s always room come October for one more power-arm.

On the flip side, dealing Jason Marquis for Luis Vizcaino is a smart move.

Since late June I’ve been heckling Jim Hendry to improve the club’s bullpen.

Thankfully, Bob Howry has departed to San Fran but, leading up to Marmol and newly acquired closer Kevin Gregg the Cubs are thin in the pen.

Jeff Samardzija has yet to tame his control issues and incumbent relievers Michael Wuertz and Neal Cotts both spent time at Triple-A Iowa last season, not exactly your type-A relief staff.

Vizcaino doesn’t absolve all the pen’s problems but, if healthy, he’ll serve as a plus upgrade.


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