I like the idea of the Cubs going after Brandon Webb and Jeremy Bonderman.
Both these guys potentially give the Cubs that power-arm and innings eater they desperately need in the rotation.
Webb, 31, hasn’t pitched since Opening Day 2009 because of a shoulder injury. But his track record is brilliant having won 14, 16, 18 & 22 games since 2005. That includes the 2006 Cy Young Award and top three finishes in 2007-08.
The Cubs won’t get him on the cheap, but it’s likely Webb will sign for a short-term deal. If so, I think it’s in the Cubs favor to take a risk on a guy who could very well revert to his old form. Quite frankly, I think it’s a no-brainer.
Bonderman, 28, is the younger and more affordable option, but his 2010 seasons was plagued with control issues and several embarassing outings. He’s also suffered from the injury bug over his eight-year career.
I see greater risk in Bonderman because he’s struggled at times even when healthy. But his career average of 200 IP per season is a bright spot.
The Cubs’ bullpen is young and limited in experience. Getting the game to Marshall and Marmol is imperative. That didn’t happen enough last season when the Cubs dug themselves an early hole they couldn’t climb out of come the stretch run.
Ryan Dempster was the lone Cub to eclipse 200 IP (215.1). That’s not good enough to win the Central. Adding a healthy Webb or Bonderman, in addition to the several young pitchers the Cubs have coming into 2011, could position the Cubs for contention next year.
Standing pat is the safe way to protect a very limited payroll, which would also benefit the Cubs, but only in the long run.
However, I think the Cubs have enough talent to win now, but it will take the risk of signing the unknown of a Webb or Bonderman. Hey, it worked for the Giants.