For those who questioned "what other lefty" relievers the Cubs could have pursued that would have been as good as Grabow, I present you Darren Oliver
Oliver's been about a 1.0 WAR level reliever for the last 3 years
Compare that to Grabow who has been basically replacement level or very slightly above the last 3 years
The Rangers were able to sign Oliver to a 1 year deal with a vesting option for a 2nd year, total contract value potentially $6.25 million
The Cubs gave Grabow two firm years for a total cost of $7.5 Million
Now I know many will say "What's the big deal over an extra $1.25 Million over 2 years, its no big deal" and to some that's fine.
But the answer remains, there were alternative options who were not only better but cheaper and could have limited the commitment to 1 year instead of two. Or in the best case scenario we could've done this while also offering arbitration to Grabow and perhaps received a pick or just gotten him for 1 year
Its a small thing, but the small things the Cubs fail to do well do add up over time. Each year we're paying other teams to take on small mistakes (Marquis last year, Bradley/Miles this year) and generally were overpaying FA contracts based on the production we can get out of them, both in dollars and years. All of these small things add up. Whether its too many dollars, too many years, or handing the player control of the contract with player options and NTC's, I feel the front office often overlooks the small things and over time the small things have a real impact on our roster.