That’s Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer over there, to the right.
Word broke over an hour ago now that the Cubs have signed starting pitcher Scott Feldman to a one-year deal. This is the second Scott they’ve signed; recently, former Twin starter Scott Baker was inked by the Cubs.
These are the two biggest moves the team has made this offseason, addressing one of their biggest concerns, the rotation. They’ve spent at least $11.5 million on guys named Scott in the past month.
The name “Scott” – I smell a pattern forming, and wanted to see what other Scotts were still on the market. MLB Trade Rumors’ free agent list, which seems to already be updated with the Feldman signing, tells us that there are three more Scotts on the market to be inked. Four if you count last names.
So, how likely is it the Cubs add another Scott?
I watched Rolen’s latest game at the Gasthaus (campus bar/restaurant in Milwaukee) last month. Knowing that retirement could be an option this offseason, it was tough to watch – the third baseman made a costly error and failed to extend the game with his bat in extras as the Cincinnati Reds were eliminated by the San Francisco Giants from the postseason.
Third base is a place that the Cubs could look at for a one year stopgap. Rolen’s 2012 season wasn’t what he expected and was filled with health issues and younger players taking his at-bats. His bat lacked, but his Gold Glove at the hot corner kept up. This sounds like a great target for the Cubs in theory, but the fact that Rolen will turn 38 next season and seems to be in a play-for-the-Reds-or-retire position eliminates all speculation on my part. I doubt Rolen comes to Chicago.
Podsednik, like Rolen, is up there in age. He’ll be 37 before the 2013 season begins. He missed all of the 2011 season, and played in just 63 games in 2012. In limited playing time, he played all three outfield positions and hit singles. That’s about it. Enough singles to get his batting average above .300, but failed to walk enough or get any extra-base hits, resulting in a .674 OPS.
The rumors for Podsednik have been extremely quiet this offseason. There are other outfield options for the Cubs in the minor leagues. My wild, unlikely prediction is the Cubs and Boston Red Sox fist-fight it out over who gets to give Podsednik a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
Injuries limited Luke Scott to DH duties and limited playing time for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. They declined his $6M 2013 option after the season. He’s 34 and plays first base, where the Cubs are stacked with Anthony Rizzo. Plus, his last name is Scott, not his first name, so he totally doesn’t even fit into what the Cubs are looking at, anyways.
Hairston is a 32 year old free agent who hit for the cycle while with the New York Mets last season. He’s an outfielder who can play all three positions, although he’s more suited for the corner spots. Hairston can fill in at second if need be, but it’s a position he hasn’t played consistently in years. He’s stood there for just two thirds of an inning since the Cubs were the best team in the National League.
But what about his bat? Hairston started about half of the season last year and put up a decent line. His on-base percentage (.299) was lacking, but hitting a career-high 20 home runs brought his slugging up for a OPS over .800. Hairston wasn’t very patient, though. He walked just 19 times in 398 at-bats, not even 5% of the time. Hairston was worth just under two WAR according to Baseball-Reference in his two years with the Mets.
Hairston’s name has only been connected to the New York Yankees and Mets so far. Despite his strong numbers against lefties making everyone shout “platoon!”, it sounds like he wants to become an everyday player, something that would not be certain all season long for the Cubs. The previous two Scott signings are players coming back from injury-riddled seasons and have something to prove. Hairston is not.
While Hairston is the most likely of the Scotts to sign with Chicago, it isn’t a good match. Another better team will be interested in Hairston as a role or everyday player. Unfortunately, it seems the Cubs have signed their last Scott of the offseason.