With spring training on the horizon, the Cubs have a need for a solid starter until Ted Lilly can return, and for a veteran right handed setup man for Carlos Marmol. John Smoltz could fill both needs, while adding a solid veteran presence to the clubhouse.
As a starter, Smoltz has had success in limited appearances in the National League the past two years, going 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 68 innings of work. If you discount his work in the AL East, he's been more than solid if handled properly. With Lilly out of the picture until after the regular season starts, Smoltz can bolster the rotation until Lilly's return (projected sometime between mid April and mid May).
This is where this proposal gets interesting. After Lilly returns, Smoltz would move to the bullpen. With the release of Kevin Gregg and the trade of Aaron Heilman, the closest thing the Cubs bullpen has to a veteran presence is John Grabow.
Carlos Silva may also provide this, should he not manage to get himself back into shape and win a rotation spot. Smoltz could be the veteran right handed setup man Jim Hendry had been looking for and couldn't seem to find this offseason.
Joining the Cubs gives Smoltz a chance to join a contender, and possibly one last shot at another World Series ring. He could help mentor such youngsters as Marmol, Esmalin Caridad, Angel Guzman, Randy Wells, and even might help Carlos Zambrano get his head on straight and ascend to the perennial Cy Young-status player everyone knows he can be.
With less than a week left before pitchers and catchers report, the Cubs would be foolish not to send at least one scout to see John Smoltz work out. He could be the missing piece to the World Series puzzle.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!