Jim Hendry has publicly stated that he wants to add another veteran arm to the bullpen (this despite the fact that the Cubs already have some good young arms in Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg, among others). There have been several rumors flying the last few days about who this pitcher might be, so let's examine three of them.
This tweet from SI's Jon Heyman indicated that the Cubs had interest in Chan Ho Park, who did an excellent job for the Phillies last year after they yanked him from their rotation. Park was horrific as a starter, posting a 7.29 ERA in seven starts, but once moved to the bullpen he put up solid numbers. In 50 relief innings he struck out 52, walked only 16, had a 1.18 WHIP and allowed zero home runs. According to the guys I spoke to on the hotstove.com preseason roundtable discussion yesterday, Park occasionally suffers from "lack of focus", but if the Cubs can deal with that problem, he'd probably be worth having on a one-year deal.
Heyman's tweet also indicated the Rays are looking at Park. They're doing so likely to replace Joe Nelson, who, according to this Chicago Breaking Sports article, has expressed interest in joining the Cubs. Nelson pitched for the Rays last year after bouncing around from the Braves to Red Sox to Mets to Royals to Marlins for several years before that. He got hit pretty hard after the middle of May and was finally sent outright to Triple-A on August 1 and DFA'd (see, some teams actually do that!) in September. He's 35 and has really only had one good year -- his 2008 season with the Marlins.
Noah Lowry, who at one time appeared to be yet another solid starting pitching arm coming out of the Giants organization, has had a series of injuries and health problems, including being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, described at that link as:
arm numbness caused by pressure in the neck against the nerves and blood vessels that go to the arm
Nevertheless, 15 teams, including the Cubs, will reportedly watch a tryout for Lowry next Tuesday. I doubt the Cubs are looking at him as a reliever, but if he's healthy, he'd provide another fall-back starting pitcher option. Lowry is a sinkerballer who had two pretty good years in 2004 and 2005 before getting hurt. He last pitched in the major leagues in 2007.
So, what say you about these possible choices? I'm kind of "eh" about all of them, although Park might be a good signing, at the right price (i.e.: low dollars, not backloaded, one-year deal).