The cubs still want to add a right-handed setup man to the bullpen. The cubs are about tapped out in the money department, so they will most likely have to acquire a reliever by trade. According to Bruce Levine of espn Chicago, Luke Gregerson is available from the San Diego Padres and the Cubs are interested in him. The Padres are interested in Angel Guzman, they feel he could be a closer. Heath Bell is also available but would cost some prospects and will make 4 million this year, taking him out of the cubs budget.
The cubs seem to be weary of Angel Guzman's injury history. He has been on the disabled list several times over his tenure with the cubs struggling through the minors to stay on the field, and he has already had surgery on his right elbow. His career potential was to be a solid middle of the rotation starter, but he has been inconsistent and injured, he is much better as a reliever. Last year he posted a 2.95 ERA with a whip of 1.05 allowing 20 earned runs in 61 innings, as a starter he gave up 64 earned runs in 96 innings. Guzman was on the disabled list a couple of times last year as well. There is no doubt when healthy Angel has inspiring stuff, featuring a mid-90's sinking fastball great curveball and a changeup. I can see why the Padres see him as a potential closer, his health does remain a question mark though. Guzman was arbitration eligible for the first time this year and will be making 825,000 this year, still fairly cheap, but his price will go up again next year and will be under team control for three more years, or he could hit the DL again and be non-tendered. I think Guzman has a lot of upside, if he stays healthy, but he hasn't shown the ability to stay healthy.
Luke Gregerson had a solid season his first year in the majors posting a 3.24 ERA, with a whip of 1.24, and ranked second in the national league with 27 holds. These numbers are a little misleading though, at home (spacious pitcher-friendly Petco park) last year he had positively stellar ERA of 0.65 in 41.2 innings, on the road his ERA was dismal to the tune of a 6.48 ERA in 33.1 innings. He only gave up 3 home runs last year, all 3 away from home. At home opponents had a .136 batting average against him, while on the road their batting average was .307. Are these numbers a fluke ? He did only give up 3 home runs all year, and in 2007(minor leagues High A) in 64 innings he posted a 1.97 ERA with a whip of 0.97, and in 2008 (minor leagues AA) he posted an ERA of 3.35 with a whip of 1.17, but who really knows. Gregerson is 25 years old and will be under team control for 5 more years, and won't be arbitration eligible for another 2 years.
The Cubs have also talked with Toronto in the past about Jason Frasor who is set to make 2.6 million this year. Thirty-three year old Frasor had a career year last year, with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.02 whip in 57.2 innings. His career ERA is just under 4 at a 3.78 ERA. Frasor is older and costs more than double what Guzman and Gregerson make put together, is only under team control for this year and has less upside. He is also not likely to fit in the cubs budget.
In my opinion Guzman has more upside than Gregerson, but his health concerns, should not be overlooked either. This is one of those situations, where your damned if you do and damned if you don't. Who would you choose?
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