More than 120 players have jumped into baseball’s free-agent money pool, two of which are Cubs: Reed Johnson and Rich Harden.
Without hesitation, I’d bring Reed back in a second. Good clubhouse guy, versatile throughout the lineup and truly enjoys playing for the Cubs organization.
Harden, on the other hand, is way too big an injury risk. You can’t even think about anything long term. Besides, two decent and relatively healthy years out of him is more than lucky, so just wave goodbye to Richie Rich.
Meanwhile, if I’m Jim Hendry here’s my early free-agent wish list:
Fernando Rodney (Det): Cubs need bullpen help more than anything, more than a leadoff hitter and more than an RBI guy. Rodney’s a big power-arm, Cubs could use one.
Mike Gonzalez (Atl): who couldn’t use an effective hard-throwing lefty? He’s the productive version of Neal Cotts.
Miguel Batista (Sea): Dude’s old, 38, to be exact, but he’s also under-rated, not to mention, a strong competitor who stays in good health and still has the arm to pitch well in the big leagues. Betcha don’t remember he was once a Cub, either! During 1997 he lasted 11 games with the Cubs going 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA. Believe me, he’s come a long way since.
LaTroy Hawkins (Hou): just kidding! Gotcha:)
Placido Palanco (Det): I couldn’t care less that the former Cardinal is 34-years-old. He’s durably in the field, still has a decent bat and above all else, has a wonderful clubhouse reputation…we’re looking to avoid the Bradleys this year, remember?
Orlando Hudson (L.A.): I was calling for O-Dog to be a Cub all last offseason. The Dodgers got him instead, and relatively cheap too. Nonetheless, Hudson has surprisingly been left unsigned again this year. Can’t figure out why? The guy’s a gamer with great baseball instincts, and he’d also provide the speed element the Cubs are lacking so dearly.