The Cubs came to terms Wednesday with 37-year-old pitcher Jon Lieber on a one-year, $3.5 million deal plus incentives. Lieber–who pitched for the North Siders from 1999 to 2001 and is the last Cub to win 20-games–is penciled in as the team’s fifth starter heading into Spring Training.
Cubs GM Jim Hendry is hoping that the signing of the veteran Lieber will offset his atrocious trade last season that brought back an aging Steve Trachsel to the Cubs for the stretch drive.
“Jon can still hit 67 or 68 mph on the radar gun, whereas Trachs was in the low 60s,” said Hendry. “This move is definitely an upgrade to our pitching staff.”
While the acquisition of Lieber may be considered a patented Cubs tweak when a big fish like Orioles stud left-hander Erik Bedard is on the trading block, Hendry is happy to add a veteran presence to his rotation and is hopeful of adding a few other former Cubs to bolster the bullpen.
“We are in negotiations with Mark Guthrie and Terry Mulholland,” added Hendry. “It’s going to be like 1999 all over again. I can’t wait.”