Chicago Cubs Targeting Lefty B.J. Ryan to Bolster Bullpen

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IJuly 16, 2009

BOSTON - MAY 1:  B.J. Ryan #52 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Boston Red Sox on May 1, 2008 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Various media outlets have confirmed that the Chicago Cubs are interested in Toronto Blue Jays left-hander and former closer B.J. Ryan. Last week Ryan was placed on waivers by the Blue Jays and the Cubs will wait for him to clear waivers to pursue him.

Ryan has had a solid major-league career, in which he has complied an ERA of 3.37 and has 117 career saves. The reason for Ryan's major decline could likely be attributed to him having Tommy John surgery in 2007 but was very good for the Jays in 2008 with 32 saves and an ERA of 2.95. 

This season, however, Ryan has seen a major disappointment only recording two saves with an ERA of 6.53 and allowing five home runs, two away from his career high. Ryan has also seen drop-offs in his pitch velocity and ability to locate his pitches.

Ryan is an attractive option for the Cubs because they have zero depth in the left-handed pitching department.

Sean Marshall the Cubs lone left-hander has been a very effective in his role but with the injury of Ryan Dempster, Marshall is the best option to enter the Cubs' rotation, leaving the bullpen without a lefty.

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Although it is not the big move that Cubs fans want, it is a cheap and possibly very profitable move that could solidify their bullpen. It is likely that he would only be a lefty specialist and face one to two batters per game.

It is low risk but has high reward.