Cubs Sign Lieber; Jason Bere And Kevin Tapani Consider Comebacks

What Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this morning, cubs.com is now confirming:

The Cubs have signed righthander Jon Lieber to a one-year, $3.5 million deal. Lieber pitched for the Cubs from 1999 through 2002. In 2001, his best Major League season, he went 20-6, 3.80 and finished fourth in Cy Young voting.

He suffered an elbow injury in '02, underwent ligament replacement surgery and was picked up by the Yanks, for whom he won 14 games in 2004.

He signed with the Phillies as a free agent in December '04 and went 29-30 in three seasons there. He suffered a pair of significant injuries in Philadelphia, including a ruptured tendon in his foot that ended his '07 season in mid-June.

What Rosenthal reported that cubs.com has not yet (and probably won't) is that Lieber has been promised a spot in the starting rotation; that he was offered more money by other teams, with whom he would have signed had it not been for his desire to return to Chicago and some assurance that he would have a spot in the Cubs rotation.

Rob G: Lieber, the last Cubs pitcher to win 20 games, will add some rotation depth and give Hendry a little more flexibility in trading from the teams' pool of starting pitchers. It could mean the end of Jason Marquis or Ryan Dempster as a Cub, or it could just mean some of the youngsters might be on their way out and the Cubs needed to restock the shelves. Or maybe the Cubs realize that going into the season with Dempster and Marquis in your rotation means being sure you have an appropriate back-up plan.

About to turn 38, Lieber is a fast-working pitcher known for his excellent control who once possessed a lethal slider that now has lost some of its bite. He'll rely on his defense quite a bit; good for him and the Cubs that the folks chasing balls behind him this year should be pretty good. His home run rates did skyrocket the last 2 full seasons in Philadelphia, although it's hard to to decipher how much of that is due to the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park and how much is due to the natural regression of a player as he ages.

This does seem like its step one of a multi-step plan. Dempster or Marquis could certainly just be shifted to the pen if needed as swing men, but it seems more likely that one of them is on the way out. Between Lieber, Dempster and Marquis, you'd have a hard time differentiating their overall value to the club, so until one of them gets moved in a trade or to the bullpen, I'm just going to refer to them as LDM from here on out.

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  • Chapman 12+ Career WAR. Currently 4.7:1 k-BB. With Rondon/Chapman/Strop/Nathan/Montgomery/Wood...Its the best pen I can recall other than Sutter or Lee Smith handling things themselves.

    Its gonna suck if he gets injured, and it appears he's not the greatest of characters.

    But, he'll have another Cuban to hang out with on the team.

    The E-Man 1 min 36 sec ago view
  • I agree with the names you mention but there are lots of names being tossed around still and there's that small matter of Chapman agreeing to the extension.

    Old and Blue 7 min 11 sec ago view
  • Heyman, Wiatt, and Sharma are definitely reliable sources. Wiatt and Sharma have a ton of connections with the FO, and Heyman is one of the national guys who usually breaks stories first along with Rosenthal and Passan.

    John Beasley 10 min 51 sec ago view
  • Twitter is even more nonsensical with names and rumors than usual right now. I'd wait for a real confirmation from someone reputable at this point before getting too worked up.

    Old and Blue 14 min 5 sec ago view
  • wow.

    a'ite then. i mean, at least they're getting one of the best at a young/durable age even if there's a heavy price to pay for it.

    crunch 17 min 51 sec ago view
  • i pretty much assumed this would be one of the last kinds of things they'd do...give up a top prospect (probably the best in the system) to get 1/2(ish) year of a reliever followed by multiple years locked in at his market value.

    i wonder if there's other players going back/forth, too.

    i mean, it's not like it's a horrible thing...this is just something that seems out of profile.

    crunch 19 min 48 sec ago view
  • Suspend him for the rest of the year and get him ready for the Schwarber era?

    Old and Blue 20 min 57 sec ago view
  • Sadahev Sharma says the names are done. Torres and other parts for Chapman only.

    John Beasley 21 min 52 sec ago view
  • i liked it better when Cubs were really good and likeable.

    will be very curious how and if they address the DV incident.

    Rob G. 25 min 41 sec ago view
  • We are coming into the realm of, ""this ain't the old Cubbies...", with the printing money machine coming online. They'll be able to handle it.

    The E-Man 26 min 37 sec ago view
  • 15m a year for 65-70 innings...phew.

    i mean, technically he's worth it, but wow...the cubs? a'ite.

    crunch 30 min 19 sec ago view
  • Heyman is reporting Trees + for Chapman is almost done. Rian Wiatt at BP Wrigleyville reports that the agreement is waiting on Chapman to agree to a 4-year, $60 million extension that is contingent on the trade.

    John Beasley 34 min 32 sec ago view
  • Not scratched because of a headache.
    Twitter...

    Source: Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres was in fact scratched due to ongoing trade talks. Destination unknown, but Yankees definitely in play.

    Cubster 36 min 38 sec ago view
  • He also leads the NL in runs scored by 12 runs. But sure, no RBIs for a week, I feel it strong.

    John Beasley 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • Chapman

    So conflicted

    jacos 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • Torres a late scratch from the Pelicans game and no word of injury or signs of foul play with the unis. May be a trade a brewing after all?

    Edit: now word he was a late scratch due to a "headache". Hmmm

    Eric S 1 hour 39 min ago view