Cubs Sign Lieber; Jason Bere And Kevin Tapani Consider Comebacks

What Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this morning, cubs.com is now confirming:

The Cubs have signed righthander Jon Lieber to a one-year, $3.5 million deal. Lieber pitched for the Cubs from 1999 through 2002. In 2001, his best Major League season, he went 20-6, 3.80 and finished fourth in Cy Young voting.

He suffered an elbow injury in '02, underwent ligament replacement surgery and was picked up by the Yanks, for whom he won 14 games in 2004.

He signed with the Phillies as a free agent in December '04 and went 29-30 in three seasons there. He suffered a pair of significant injuries in Philadelphia, including a ruptured tendon in his foot that ended his '07 season in mid-June.

What Rosenthal reported that cubs.com has not yet (and probably won't) is that Lieber has been promised a spot in the starting rotation; that he was offered more money by other teams, with whom he would have signed had it not been for his desire to return to Chicago and some assurance that he would have a spot in the Cubs rotation.

Rob G: Lieber, the last Cubs pitcher to win 20 games, will add some rotation depth and give Hendry a little more flexibility in trading from the teams' pool of starting pitchers. It could mean the end of Jason Marquis or Ryan Dempster as a Cub, or it could just mean some of the youngsters might be on their way out and the Cubs needed to restock the shelves. Or maybe the Cubs realize that going into the season with Dempster and Marquis in your rotation means being sure you have an appropriate back-up plan.

About to turn 38, Lieber is a fast-working pitcher known for his excellent control who once possessed a lethal slider that now has lost some of its bite. He'll rely on his defense quite a bit; good for him and the Cubs that the folks chasing balls behind him this year should be pretty good. His home run rates did skyrocket the last 2 full seasons in Philadelphia, although it's hard to to decipher how much of that is due to the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park and how much is due to the natural regression of a player as he ages.

This does seem like its step one of a multi-step plan. Dempster or Marquis could certainly just be shifted to the pen if needed as swing men, but it seems more likely that one of them is on the way out. Between Lieber, Dempster and Marquis, you'd have a hard time differentiating their overall value to the club, so until one of them gets moved in a trade or to the bullpen, I'm just going to refer to them as LDM from here on out.

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  • welcome to the cubs j.nathan.

    2 pitches into the inning and there's a guy on 3rd with 0 outs (triple).

    his velocity is hanging around 91/92mph.

    crunch 7 min 30 sec ago view
  • Always a good idea to bring in Richard against a LH batter.

    billybucks 29 min 9 sec ago view
  • Russell left game with left heel contusion from foul ball on Saturday. Started to bother him during the Sunday game.

    Cubster 44 min 52 sec ago view
  • a.russell out and down into the clubhouse...no one knows why.

    it's very hot on the field, so it might be heat related.

    crunch 1 hour 4 min ago view
  • I blame the All-Star game again, or else Michael Barrett.

    Cubster 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • Miller park roof is closing. Hmmm, might play differently now?

    Lester at 72 pitches through 3. Roof closing might get him through 6.

    Middlebrows pulls a calf or hamstring. Len says he blew a tire rounding 1st. Nieuwenhuis enters game.

    Now roof opening. Dizziness. No AC in the ballpark wrt the field.

    Cubster 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • just to lighten the mood:
    Shark's day: 5.2 IP 5 Runs (all earned), 8 Hits, 2 HR. Left the game down 5-0 to Yankees.

    Anyone expecting game 4 NLCS Shark vs Hammel or Lackey?

    Cubster 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • First inning: two on, no out, Rizz and Zobrist due up. Don't score.
    Third inning: two on, one out, KB and Rizz due up. Don't score.

    This is getting' old, fellahs.

    billybucks 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • KB still with ZERO RBI since the A/S break. Ouch.

    billybucks 1 hour 31 min ago view
  • 62 through 2ip...yow.

    it's an off day for d.ross, too. the wild pitch + passed ball in 2 separate strike 3 calls allowing the runner to reach 1st and the 5sb through 2ip makes for a bad game so far. ross cant shoulder any blame for some of those SBs, especially that villar steal of 3rd while lester watched him.

    crunch 1 hour 34 min ago view
  • 39 pitch inning by Lester. I guess it's a wash vs yesterday's 1st when Lackey gave up 2 run HR.

    Cubster 2 hours 26 sec ago view
  • 39 pitch, 2 run, 1st inning for lester. bleh.

    horrible control so far today.

    crunch 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • lester threw over to 1st! ...badly. braun takes 2nd.

    it was a slow rainbow throw.

    crunch 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • wow...villar just stole 3rd (after stealing 2nd) by walking 1/2 way to 3rd and then just sprinting toward 3rd with lester watching him do it from the mound.

    crunch 2 hours 18 min ago view
  • D'oh.

    CTSteve 2 hours 49 min ago view
  • Torres for Chapman I think Yankees are aiming high,but would much rather get him to keep away from Giants or Nationals.

    rokfish 2 hours 59 min ago view