Veteran hurler Brandon Webb hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the start of the 2009 season because of chronic shoulder issues. But that hasn’t stopped teams from calling about the right-hander, who is now a free agent.
Sources told Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse this weekend that the Cubs are now in the running for Webb. The Dodgers and Nationals are also interested, and the Diamondbacks have some level of interest in re-signing him.
Chicago, though, almost seems like the best fit.
The Cubs could use a guy to slot in behind Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells and Tom Gorzelanny. Webb might not be at his best anymore, but if he gets the velocity up on his sinker and continues to build arm strength, there is little doubt that he will be able to eat some innings.
Now it’s all about price. How much can a 31-year-old with a Cy Young Award to his name but a lack of recent experience command on the open market? He will almost certainly have to settle for a one-year contract, but the Cubs can always pack it with incentives and hope for the best.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.