Cubs interested in Brandon McCarthy and Yunel Escobar

The Cubs are reportedly one of the teams interested in A's free agent Brandon McCarthy. There's a lot of competition though.

The A's have been in contact with another of their free agents, starter Brandon McCarthy, but expected that there would be strong competition for the right-hander and they're right: The Chronicle has learned that among the clubs already expressing interest are the Red Sox, the White Sox, the Cubs, the Royals, the Diamondbacks and the Twins – and the Angels and Rangers also are expected to join in.

I'm just going to repost what I did last month when word of their interest in him first broke.

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury
9/6/12 10/12/12 DtdDL 36 26 Head Surgery
6/20/12 8/10/12 15-DL 51 43 Right Shoulder Strain
6/8/12 6/19/12 DTD 11 9 Right Shoulder Soreness
5/18/12 6/2/12 15-DL 15 13 Right Shoulder Strain
5/3/12 5/12/12 DTD 9 7 Right Shoulder Soreness
3/21/12 3/28/12 Camp 7 0 Left Fingers Laceration
8/12/11 8/12/11 DTD 0 0 Right Knee Contusion
5/19/11 7/3/11 15-DL 45 41 Right Shoulder Stress Fracture
7/29/10 11/1/10 60-DL 95 61 Right Shoulder Recovery From Stress Fracture
6/20/10 7/29/10 Minors 39 0 Right Shoulder Stress Fracture
6/11/10 6/19/10 Minors 8 0 Right Shoulder Inflammation
4/26/10 6/3/10 Minors 38 0 Right Shoulder Stress Fracture
6/5/09 9/1/09 60-DL 88 77 Right Shoulder Stress Fracture
3/1/09 3/12/09 Camp 11 0 Right Shoulder Soreness
9/16/08 9/29/08 DTD 13 11 Right Fingers Strain
3/30/08 8/23/08 60-DL 146 129 Right Forearm Inflammation
3/3/08 3/30/08 Camp 27 0 Right Forearm Tightness
2/26/08 3/7/08 Camp 10 0 Right Elbow Soreness
9/21/07 10/1/07 DTD 10 9 Right Forearm Tightness
8/11/07 9/11/07 15-DL 31 27 Right Shoulder Stress Fracture
6/10/07 7/2/07 15-DL 22 19 Right Fingers Blisters
5/26/07 6/9/07 DTD 14 13 Right Fingers Blisters
6/16/06 6/16/06 DTD 0 0 Left Knee Contusion


2005 67 0.5 1 0.1
2006 84.2 0 0.9 1
2007 101.2 1.3 0.5 0.7
2008 22 0.2 0.4 0
2009 97.1 1.4 0.6 0.1
2011 170.2 4.8 2.9 2.4
2012 111 1.8 2 1

I don't think I'd be too interested in signing this guy to a long-term contract. It obviously depends on the price, but he's had a million arm injuries and has really only been good over his last 280 innings. Those are more important than what he did in 2005, but considering the injuries and his previous ineffectiveness, I'd only get involved if he's going to be signed for 3 years and something like $20 million.

After thinking about this more, I'd stay away unless it's a 1-year deal.

The fact there is a lot of competition for him makes it unlikely he'd sign for less than 2 or 3 years and many more millions than he's worth.

The Cubs are also reportedly intersted in acquiring Yunel Escobar. From MLBTR:

  • There's some conflicting info out there on the Yankees' interest in Escobar. Reports yesterday suggested that the Yankees had inquired, and Jayson Stark of tweets that New York is "definitely in" on the shortstop. However, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees aren't in the mix.
  • The other clubs that are "definitely in" on Escobar, according to Stark, are the A's, Cubs, and Rays.

A lot of you will say the Cubs should stay away from Escobar because he's a homophobic asshole. I'm not one of them. I won't be inviting Escobar over for Christmas dinner so I really don't give a shit what he's like. I would also guess that as prevalent as homophobia is in sports that there is already at least 1 person like Escobar on the Cubs and probably more than that.

This doesn't mean I want the Cubs to acquire him. He's owed $5 million next year, but there are 2 team friendly options at $5 million each. Escobar used to be an above average hitter, but over the last 3 years his wRC+ has been 83, 117 and 75. Bill James projects slightly below league average .317 wOBA from him next year.

He's also a plus fielder at SS and although the Cubs don't need a shortstop, they could move him to 2nd base or perhaps more likely to 3rd base where they currently have no one who should be playing at the MLB level. We could expect his defensive to improve by about 5 runs or so with a shift to one of those positions making him a very good fielder who is also close to league average at the plate.

He won't hit for the kind of power you'd like at 3rd base, but could prove to be a Placido Polanco type player at the position.

It all depends on what it will cost. I wouldn't give up much to get him and I would factor in his character when it comes to what I'd be willing to part with, but I wouldn't stay away from him because of it. He's still a valuable ballplayer and the Cubs have a hole at 3rd base that he could fill. If he does prove to be as valuable as someone like Polanco at that position the Cubs would hold a nice $5 million option on him in 2014 and then another $5 million option in 2015. This would give time for any prospects they currently have to get to the big leagues and they'd do it while not spending much money at all.