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Chicago Cubs: Team Adds Former Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher Andy Sonnanstine

By Cbr66 @JKries

Chicago Cubs: Team Adds Former Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher Andy SonnanstineThe Chicago Cubs signed relief pitcher Andy Sonnanstine, formerly of the Tampa Rays, to a non-guaranteed split contract yesterday. It was also clarified that last week’s signing of former Colorado Rockies pitcher, Manny Corpas, was for a one-year non-guaranteed split contract. This means both pitchers aren’t guaranteed a major league salary if they are optioned to the minor leagues in 2012.

The Cubs are taking fliers on both pitchers, hoping to reinforce their bullpen after dealing away Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds for starting pitcher Travis Wood, and prospects. Sonnanstine was rarely used last year and carries with him a career ERA that is north of 5. Corpas hasn’t pitched since 2010 after having Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm.

It’s business as usual for team president Theo Epstein and the Cubs during their current overhaul of the team. With one unsexy move after the other, Epstein and GM Jed Howry continue to plug in veterans from baseball’s over-the-hill heap, while trying to reload the organization’s farm system.

Andy Sonnanstine’s career numbers (including minor league appearances):

Year Tm W L ERA G GS IP H ER BB SO WHIP SO/9 SO/BB

2004 TBD-min 5 1 0.78 17 7 57.2 36 5 10 66 0.798 10.3 6.60

2005 TBD-min 14 5 2.99 28 28 180.2 174 60 18 178 1.063 8.9 9.89

2006 TBD-min 15 8 2.67 28 28 185.2 151 55 34 153 0.996 7.4 4.50

2007 TBD-min 6 4 2.66 11 11 71.0 60 21 13 66 1.028 8.4 5.08

2007 TBD 6 10 5.85 22 22 130.2 151 85 26 97 1.355 6.7 3.73

2008 TBR 13 9 4.38 32 32 193.1 212 94 37 124 1.288 5.8 3.35

2009 TBD-min 5 3 4.40 9 9 57.1 68 28 9 36 1.343 5.7 4.00

2009 TBR 6 9 6.77 22 18 99.2 131 75 34 60 1.656 5.4 1.76

2010 TBD-min 0 0 6.75 1 1 1.1 2 1 1 4 2.250 27.0 4.00

2010 TBR 3 1 4.44 41 4 81.0 83 40 27 50 1.358 5.6 1.85

2011 TBD-min 3 6 4.82 10 9 56.0 64 30 15 35 1.411 5.6 2.33

2011 TBR 0 2 5.55 15 4 35.2 40 22 12 12 1.458 3.0 1.00

5 Seasons 28 31 5.26 132 80 540.1 617 316 136 343 1.394 5.7 2.52

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/27/2011.

The big glaring void at the moment is the Cubs’ lack of a major league first baseman. Odds are that they won’t sign Carlos Pena, who despite 28 home runs and an OBP of .357 in 2011 with the Cubs, won’t be returning because he can still demand a salary in the neighborhood of $10 million.

Early trade rumors had Brewers free agent first baseman Prince Fielder possibly coming to Chicago after an offer was reportedly made by the Cubs, but the continued trend of recent moves by the Cubs front office is making that dream not a reality. Fielder has been reportedly looking for a deal similar to Albert Pujols, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels for 10 years, $250 million.

Another possibility is the San Diego Padres’ young first baseman, Anthony Rizzo. With the Padres’ recent trade involving Mat Latos going to the Cincinnati Reds, the Padres received prospect Yonder Alonso, a top prospect at first base for the Reds. This could make Rizzo expendable, and seeing as Cubs GM Jed Hoyer brought Rizzo to the Padres during his time there, he might be interested in bringing Rizzo to Chicago.

Whatever happens with the Cubs’ first baseman search, it will be fascinating to see what transpires in 2012 for the team. With a patchwork lineup blending with current Cubs veterans and their bloated, no-trade-clause-laden contracts in 2012, will fans come out to Wrigley Field? Will the team enjoy more success than during their miserable 2011 campaign.

The plan has been put into motion by Epstein, and with every signing of a replacement-level veteran, it probably doesn’t get any easier for a portion of Cubs fans. Even though rebuilding is obviously required after the Jim Hendry era, fans have to know that rebuilding can sometimes be ugly, and results won’t be immediate.

-James Kries


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