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The Cubs are playing “Two lies and a truth,” kind of.
The Chicago Cubs have not made a trade yet, but the Cubs did recently bring back right-handed starting pitcher Jon Lieber to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. With Spring Training less than a month away, the Cubs still have one spot open on their 40-man roster so a move could still happen.
As of right now, Lieber will compete with Ryan Dempster, Jason Marquis, Sean Gallagher, Sean Marshall, and Kevin Hart for one of the spots at the back end of the rotation. Gallagher and Hart will likely start in the bullpen and Marshall might end up gone, so who knows what the rotation will look like on Opening Day.
Even though his career as a Cub was cut short, Lieber compiled 48 wins in his 121 starts in a Cubs uniform, including a 20 win season in 2001.
Jim Hendry’s grade on this acquisition will depend on how many starts Lieber makes, he’s been injury riddled the last two years. The last time Lieber made 30+ starts was in 2005, when he went 17-13 for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Re-signing Lieber makes it a lot easier for Hendry to trade one of his young starters, but not for who you expect.
Most of the rumors this winter have revolved around the Cubs acquiring Baltimore Orioles' second baseman Brian Roberts, but the Cubs Convention opened with a rumor revolving Texas Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd.
Byrd can play every outfield position, but would likely be used as Felix Pie’s platoon mate in center field. Byrd has a career .282 average against left-handed pitchers.
The Cubs also reportedly added right-handed reliever Shingo Takatsu, signing the former Chicago White Sox hurler to a Minor League contract. Shingo Takatsu converted 27 of 31 saves his rookie year with the Sox, but faltered for them and the Mets in 2005.
Stay tuned, there are only 72 days ‘til Opening Day.