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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lieber to the Cubs

Right-hander Jon Lieber has signed with the Chicago Cubs.

The Reds had talked to Lieber.

"We spoke to a lot of clubs, including the Reds," Lieber's agent, Rex Gary, said. "I'm not going to characterize how close it was. You know his history with the Cubs. They were clearly the first choice."

Chicago Tribune reports that Lieber signed a one-year, $3.5, million deal. He can earn up to $4 million in incentives. That helps set the market for second-tier guys.


48 Comments:

at 3:13 PM Anonymous mikec said...

Not only does this narrow the list of veteran pitchers, it also gives the Cubbies one more weapon. If the Reds want to keep up, they'll need to add a vet too.

I wonder if teams -- in particular the Reds who'd like to start the year with a vet not get one back from injury midway through the season -- are waiting as long as they possibly can to seehow far along the Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colons of the world are.

 
at 3:16 PM Blogger Will T. said...

Leiber would have been ok, but I think that we need some kind of lefty in the rotation. John, do you think that it is a possibility that the Reds will get Lee from Cleveland and what would do you think it would take to get a deal done. He is a pretty good pitcher. Let Belisle go back to the bullpen and have a rotation of Harang, Arroyo, Lee, and two of the four young guys.

 
at 3:19 PM Blogger redsfaninrochester said...

I think he is going to have a healthy and productive year for the Cubs. He was my hope for a pitcher that would join the Reds for one year and win 12-14 games with 190-210IP. I don't think there is any one left on the cheaper side who would be better, especially pitching in GABP. It will be intresting to see who the Reds go after.

 
at 3:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the Reds couldn't make this happen. They must have been short on their offer. I'm anxious to see what kind of cash and terms the Cubs offered him. Lieber has pitched well in Great American, and seemed to be a good fit. I know he's coming off some injuries, but I have a feeling he'll be a nice addition to the Cubs staff. We'll see him plenty this season, both at GABP and Wrigley. If he comes out and wins 6 or 7 of his first 10 starts, it'll sure look like a bad decision by Reds brass. This tells me that Kriv and the Reds are still waiting to make a deal and/or go with the youth movement (Bailey/Cueto).
John: Based on his numbers, you don't think they'll try for Livan Hernandez do you? Those HR #'s are as bad or worse than Uncle Milty's a few years ago. His style of pitching in GABP is a recipe for disaster.
Jim in AZ
*Reds to Arizona in '09!

 
at 3:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that Lieber is with the Cubs, who do we have left to get? I realize that there is not out there, but we obviously need someone, as far as veteran. John, do you have any leads? I wouldn't wait till spring training.

 
at 4:23 PM Anonymous hawkeye said...

THE reds will pull the trigger on Bedard or Blanton.I feel they will have too. You don't sell the farm for them.I just read where the Reds have 5 of the top 50 propects inall of baseball,and Baltimore wants them all,I don't know about Oakland.I would.nt trade Bruce straight up for them or anyone else.

 
at 4:26 PM Blogger Dan said...

Sounds like the main reason Lieber is a Cub is that he wanted to be a Cub! Free agents can choose where they want to play (provided they get SOME kind of offer, of course).

Think about it... we're all free agents, basically. If some company in Detroit or Kansas City or Pittsburgh or wherever offered you 10% more than you're making right now, would you move and take it? I wouldn't.

Lieber just likes Chicago, I think. Prior likes southern California. It's natural. And therefore it is not as easy as many think for the Reds (or most teams) to sign a free agent.

That's why I think a guy like Tomko is more likely than most - he played here and I think he liked it here.

 
at 4:29 PM Blogger Dan said...

Oh, one more thing...

I wouldn't say "if the Reds want to keep up, they'll need to add a vet."

I'd say "if the Reds want to keep up, they'll need add an effective pitcher."

I couldn't care less if he's a vet or not. In fact, all else being equal, give me a young guy. He'll be cheaper and, probably, improving! Vets go downhill.

I'm a huge Jonathan Sanchez proponent. (He's a young LHP on the Giants.) I'd love to make a deal for him. Don't know how much it would take, of course, but I think he's going to be GOOD, and possibly undervalued (rough year last year).

 
at 4:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reds still falling behind the 8 NL teams that are already BETTER.

2008 ZERO CHANCE FOR PLAYOFFS

You could give this team to Lou Pinella or Joe Torre and they'd have zero chance too.

Why did we blow all that money on Dusty when we needed to spend it on a free agent starter?

Not many pitchers available out there but unless the team wants to wait 2-3 years and roll the dice on the youngsters, we're in for another dreary year of mediocre starting pitching and having teams score 8 or more runs against us; 36 losses last year were accompanied by the opponent scoring 8 or more runs total.

Better hope Harang stays healthy! He goes down and Dusty will be lucky to win 72 games again even with an improved offense!

Even 82-80 is a fairy tale goal without either MORE top line starters or a long-odds development in 3 of our young starter candidates but that won't get the Reds the division or wild card, not even close.

90 wins took the NL wild card last year...and 85 wins will NOT win the Central this year as it did last year. So either the Reds are going to admit that 08 is a "development" season or they can go out and get at least one more starter.

 
at 4:44 PM Anonymous Hawkeye said...

I feel the reds will be forced to make a trade,if they want to compete next year. You say Chicago this and chicago that. In my opinion chicago may have better starting pitching,but that far as it goes.Ijust read where Cincinnati have 5 of the top 50 propects in baseball,And Baltimore and Oakland think we're so bent on winning in 08 that we'll give up anything,but we're not that dumb.

 
at 5:17 PM Anonymous Red at the Beach said...

This is a failure of mgmt to put a team that can win in Cincinnati. The word was that the remaining FA pitchers wanted multiyear deals.

Clealy that was not the case for Lieber, and for that amount of $, the Reds certainly could have been more competitive.

For the sake of PR, I can only hope word leaks that the Reds offered more but his heart was in Chicago.

But we all know that more money always talks to pro athletes, so I am betting WK whiffed on this one...

 
at 5:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks we must now remember we have a real baseball man calling the shots!Thank GOD WK is now a non issue..I expect us to finally get better!With Cluless we got worse(check the record)....THANK YOU BOB!! I join others in saying ..WAKE UP CINCY FIRE KRIVSKY

 
at 5:39 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

While everyone is concerned about the starter, I found this stat very telling:

"For the first time since Barry Larkin and Pokey Reese in 2001, the Reds are opening a season with the same double play combination in consecutive years. Back with Phillips in the Cincinnati middle infield is shortstop Alex Gonzalez."

We need consistancy, pitchers who can give us 200 innings, AND Stability in the Infield. We have 3 30+ starting pitchers now. Lieber pitched 200 innings one time in the last 5 years. Starts: 21, 27, 35, 27, 14

Thanks but I'll bank on Bailey to give me 25+ starts and 4.75 ERA which is what Lieber will do

 
at 5:41 PM Anonymous Kyle said...

I'm with you on that one Dan. Shanchez is a young lefty that has no place in San Fran with already Zito and Lowry in the rotation being left handed. A lefty that throws 92-94mph with a solid change and a tight breaking ball would be a great addition to our rotation. The kid as great stuff just needs a chance. With Bailey, Cueto, and Volquez we would be looking at a potentially very good rotation for now and the future.

I know you don't have any inside info but any chance John?

 
at 5:46 PM Anonymous DT-Sampler said...

I'm willing to bet Lieber chose the Cubs over the Reds because the Cubs hold Spring Training in Arizona. ;-)

 
at 5:51 PM Blogger John Fay said...

All I know for sure is ownership would like to add a veteran. Lieber was among the best choices.

You can go down the free agent list -- Hernandez, Fogg, Tomko, Lohse, Benson -- and figure that the Reds have had at least preliminary discussions with all of them.

I don't know about Colon or Garcia because of the health issues. It doesn't make sense to sign someone who is not going to be ready at the start.

Cliff Lee is an intriguing possibility on the trade front, but I don't know if the Reds have talked the Indians about him.

 
at 6:07 PM Anonymous Brick said...

Don't see a reason to get worked up over not signing Lieber. The guy's pitched 13 seasons and he's had a winning record 5 times...and really, the only reason he has a career mark above 500 is because he had one great year (2001) at 20 - 6. He's pitched 200+ innings a year 4 times. Add to that that he's 38 going on 39...

Is he the guy that tips the scales in the Reds' direction....I don't think so.

 
at 6:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reganspad... who cares about double play consistency..have you lost your marbles? Plus..how many games did Gonzalez miss last year. Yep..the aforementioned doubleplay consistency is gonna vault us to the playoffs..Too funny dude..u are so comical with your stats and what everyone else is saying I am beginning to find you funny and like u somewhat

This team is still a couple of years away from contention..but I am certainly gonna enjoy watching Dusty the Retread and the comedy in middle relief.

I am glad Jockerty was hired..gives us hope.. Smart move.

Bailey did look better when he came back up reaganspad,,I will agree with ya on that

Jack in Blue Ash

 
at 6:44 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

you are right Jack. Stats mean nothing. Everybody wants to add a starting pitcher with "Stats" because we are not sure of the kids. SS is no different

2006 we had better pitching than 2007, but in 06 we had a worse shortstop and worse fielding percentage.

If you don't have both, fielding and pitching, you don't have, well, JACK

For the first time since 2001, we have the same DP combo returning. Everyone hammers our leftfielder, but he improved in 07, as did EE, as did our SS play.

Want to improve our pitching? Complete the DP's

 
at 7:26 PM Blogger Al in Ohio said...

Guys, don't you think it's possible the Krivsky may have offered Lieber almost exactly the same deal (which his agent's statement almost seems to imply), but that Lieber decided, at this stage of his career, that he wanted to be with a team that was more likely to contend this year?

Since we don't know with any certainty what the Reds offered him, there's no way we can legitimately criticize Krivsky.

 
at 7:34 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Jack, tale of 2 pitchers:

One has a 12-17 record with a 4.9 ERA last 2 years, 246 innings.

The other is 8-8 with 3.58 ERA once in the last 2 years, 136 innings of 4.5.

Which pitcher do you want?

The stats about Todd Coffey the last 2 years are a better story than Lieber. Our relief will be fine in 08

 
at 8:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems pretty reasonable for Leiber. Surprised we couldn't match that. I read Bedard only makes 4.5 mil a year. I know I'm in a minority here, but I really wish WK could pull off something here even if it meant taking back some bad contracts in the deal. Something like Votto-Cuetto-Encarcion-(and maybe Stubbs)for Bedard-Mora.

Probably won't happen, but it looks like WK will now have to go for L. Hernandez. He at least eats innings even though we'll lose more when he pitches he'll give Cordero a break. Younger pitchers will wear out the bullpen. I suppose it's moot as we are problably not going to be able to compete this year anyway as Cordero has been our only improvement, and we've lost Hamilton.

 
at 8:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

He at least eats innings even though we'll lose more when he pitches he'll give Cordero a break. - 8:15 anon

That's probably the funniest thing I've ever read on this site, can't bash you though because its probably true

 
at 9:41 PM Blogger BigRade said...

John,

What about Kris Benson? I heard he was rehabbing but I don't know how he was doing or anything. Plus we'd get to see his wife at all of the games which should draw some more fans to the park.

 
at 10:09 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I've got a call into to benson's agent. My guess is the reds have at least talked to him.

 
at 10:18 PM Blogger Dan said...

Hey John, random question here...

Do you think anyone in the Reds front office reads any of these fan blogs? Have you ever heard a mention?

 
at 10:39 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I know some people do. I don't think Krivsky is among them.

 
at 11:54 PM Blogger Jon said...

Irrational Offering of the Day:

Clueless Krivsky is responsible for the banks project.

WAKE UP CINCY, WALT IS THE SECOND COMING!!!

 
at 12:22 AM Anonymous second guess this said...

If the front office read the blogs, then I'd really be worried.

 
at 3:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember hearing Dusty Baker say how after he was hired that he talked to all of these players who wanted to come to Cincinnati and play for him. Where are all of those players now? The Reds need at least one more veteran starting pitcher to go into Spring Training with. I also think it might be smart to sign a pitcher like Colon, who could possibly benefit the team later this season and several seasons down the road. That thinking has worked for other teams like the Cardinals in the past. Why not the Reds? Just my thoughts. Great blog! Have a wonderful day everyone and GO REDS! Mandy

 
at 4:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is from cubs.com:

"There were some teams out there that were pursuing very hard," Lieber said. "The way I look at it is Chicago has always been special to me...It was always in the back of my mind that if I could ever get a chance to be a part of the organization again, I was going to try my best to make it happen."

Sounds like that was probably the reds, that seems to be krivsky's calling card after some big signings (baker, cordero) its the only way to get pitchers to come here.
We definitely should take a shot at an injured vet since we have the depth to do it. But if we stood pat, I'm not as scared as everyone else.

 
at 8:38 AM Blogger jshortt said...

I love that everybody bashes Matt Belisle so much after his first full year as a starter, but acts like Harang just magically appeared and was this good. Let me show you an interesting little stat line:

Belisle 2007:
W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R
8 9 5.32 30 30 1 0 177.2 212 111
ER HR BB SO
105 26 43 125

Harang 2004 (first full year starting):
W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R
10 9 4.86 28 28 1 1 161 177 90
ER HR BB SO
87 26 53 125

Nearly identical, with Belisle being better in some categories. I think he deserves at least another full year in the rotation before everybody writes him off. He has electric stuff, he just needs to develop the confidence to go with it.

 
at 8:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reaganspad...

the infield was not an issue with this team

we got clobbered in the 6th 7th and 8th innings..our relief pitching stunk

Dunn being a marginal defensive out fielder did not lose us all those games

You say our relief pitching will be better..so therefore it will be reagan?

I say the Bengals are going to the Superbowl next year..so therefore they will .. too funny

Jack in Blue Ash

 
at 9:05 AM Blogger jdeezman said...

LOL!

Hey Al in Ohio, of course Krivsky can be criticized... all of these people know WAY more than him.
He's only been in MLB since 1977.

This blog is seriously one of my favorite places to come to every day.
It doesn't matter what is going on, I KNOW I'll get a laugh coming in here and reading these absolutely ridiculous posts.

Here's a little education for you armchair GM's on what a REAL GM is supposed to do;

Krivsky was hired by the Twins in December 1994 as special assistant to general manager Terry Ryan. He was promoted to assistant general manager for the Twins on November 30, 1998 and spent more than 8 years in that position until the Reds hired him in 2006. Since 1985 his duties have included extensive professional scouting.

The Twins record from 1999 to 2006 (because WK helped build these clubs);

672-621

playoffs in 02-04, & 06.

 
at 10:11 AM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

Jennings to Rangers on a one year deal for about the same money. Don't really have an opinion on him, other than he sucked last year, but that list of veterans is getting shorter by the day.

Would not be surprised to see fan fave Eric Milton back here on a 1 year deal.

 
at 10:18 AM Anonymous redsfanwoody said...

Sounds like barring a trade they will head into spring training with what they have.

Here's to hoping they do not panic and dish out a multi-year deal to any of the pitchers left. Let's not get tied up with possibility of another bad contract(stanton,milton etc).

For the Reds to contend it will take more than just one starter. The bullpen has to hold up. The hitting the runners in scoring position has to go up. The defense has to get better. And so on and so on.

I am inclined to look for improvements in those areas than I am thinking that the Reds will contend. I say 2009 will be the first year I will imagine they will contend.
Woody

p.s. All of you saying "Wake up Cincinnati" we are, or we wouldn't be posting here.

 
at 10:23 AM Blogger Jack in St. Louis said...

Every day, I check the Enquirer website, hoping that maybe the Reds will do something. Every day, I come away disappointed. Being a Reds fan here in St. Louis, I constantly catch the flack from Cardinal fans.

 
at 10:27 AM Blogger Hugh D. Pohl said...

I agree with Reaganspad about the importance of the keystone combo and overall defense. Never seen any weird stats or faulty logic from Reaganspad, Jack. Maybe you just like goofing with people.

 
at 11:02 AM Anonymous MR REDLEGS' TUDOR said...

Reds should trade Harang for a catcher. They have plenty of pitching. What would be wrong with a rotation of, say:
1. Ayoyo
2. Coffey
3. Majewski
4. Shern
5. Stanton/Milton
Ken Griffey Jr will hit 55 or more homers this year and Adam Dunn has gained 40 pounds and will be much better next season. Ryan Freel has been attending Jose Canseco's baseball school and should have much more baseball 'smarts' this season. Having Rusty Baker instead of Narroon the baffoon is worth at least 10 wins and if things should falter, Clueless Krivsky will make the necessary adjustments. Yes, I am getting my season tickets early.

 
at 11:32 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hugh here is something to ponder..

Reaganspad suggests that with our "returning defense " in tact that this in some way makes us a contender.

Hugh with this superlative defense in place last year what was our record?

Jack in Blue Ash

 
at 11:47 AM Blogger reaganspad said...

Thanks Hugh. If we have bad defense, we better get bedard and santana to have a chance.
Improve our defense and it improves your pitching. Range at SS takes away hits. Making routine plays saves Marty the ulcer, including those double plays not made. In 06, how many times has Marty talked about the big inning that occured because we didn't finish the double play? 07 was better.

Now: Making the right pitch keeps Brantley from going balistic.
Belisle's no hitter turned lost game is the type of improvement needed for 08

 
at 11:48 AM Blogger maus said...

Leiber won't do much for the Cubs.

The biggest news that could effect the Reds in the next few months is whether Mark Cuban buys the Cubs. He has been quoted as saying if he gets the club he will spend every cent of profit on making the club better. He talked about getting the Cubs payroll to the Red Sox level -- $44 million more than their now spending! That's a couple of pitchers like Santana becoming Cubs next year. Nasty.

By the time the Reds are ready to compete, the Cubs will have enough fire power to easily overcome our good quality youth.

That's why I still say if we could trade Bruce and another minor leaguer not named Cueto or Bailey for Bedard, we ought to pull the trigger. Establish a winning tradition here and free agents might come to us for a discount.

Hopefully (for our sake) the owners won't let Cuban in -- they are a conservative bunch and Cuban probably rubs them the wrong way.

 
at 12:45 PM Blogger Scott Evans said...

John,

Do you know if Tribune still plans on selling the Cubs now that Randy Michaels is the CEO? I seem to remember his name coming up(or at least Jacor) when Marge was forced to sell the team in the 90s.

Also, after seeing Homer Bailey's numbers when he was healthy, I think the Reds are going to be fine from a starting pitching standpoint. In fact I don't even think starting pitching was the problem last year, it was middle relief.

Also, the one who said that the defence needs to improve, I agree, though last year according to my Reds DVD from Redsfest, the Reds set a club record for fewest team erros at 95. I say go with the youth.

 
at 12:49 PM Blogger Dan said...

My prediction is Brett Tomko as our "wily vet" signing to compete for the rotation.

I'll also predict a one year deal w/ an option of some kind.

And finally, I'll predict that Tomko will put up basically Belisle-like numbers.

 
at 12:51 PM Blogger Dan said...

I'm not saying I love the Tomko idea. Just making a prediction.

I'd prefer a trade for a young, high-strikeout guy, preferably lefty... As I said before I'm a big Jonathan Sanchez (Giants) fan.

I wonder if the Giants would deal Sanchez for Encarnacion?

I wonder if the Reds would? Hmmm...

 
at 1:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Colorado & watched them over the past 5 years build a winner with youth.No fancy free agent signings,no big name manager,& only one veteran in Tod Helton to lead the young team's corps.

What's it got them, A N.L championship,A stud in Matt Holliday,a rookie stud in SS Tulowotiziki,and a very good corps of very young players that play solid baseball.

I agree the reds need to spend or trade for another bonafined arm,but they really need to learn how to develop the talent already within the franchise.That is were you really build a championship team,through your farm system.We have some pretty good prospects in the ranks as it is.

What's all this noise of people/Reds losing hope in Bailey,the guys a stud.He's going be really good,just wait and see.he just needs the right coaching at the MLB level,Maybe Baker knows a little more than Narron & Mack.Atleast he's proven.

 
at 7:34 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Yea, and imagine if the Rockies had Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle.

Oh, wait, they already did that.

Young arms baby!

 
at 12:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tomko is horrible. Every single AA pitcher in the Reds' organization is better than Tomko.

 
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