The Cubs are in search of pitching. This is underscored by the never ending, yet futile, quest for Jake Peavy, as well as Lou Piniella's declaration that the team needs a lefty. Now, it appears that Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets is available. At first glance, it makes no sense for the Cubs to sign Sheets, but after a little consideration, you could see how Sheets could be a valuable addition to the Cubs.
First, the negatives. Sheets needs surgery on his shoulder, and whoever signs him will have the burden of paying for that surgery and rehab. The surgery means that Sheets probably won't be available until the second half of the season. He is also not a lefty, has played eight seasons, all with Milwaukee, and has the seemingly mediocre record of 86-83.
Sheets coming back for post-All Star break baseball could be manna from heaven for the Cubs, when the team's pitchers need a rest. Piniella is a master at conserving his players, and helping them peak at the right time. A veteran, playoff-tested pitcher like Sheets could be perfect for Piniella to use when resting the team's starters. More than that, he is familiar with the ballparks and players of the NL Central.
Secondly, if Sheets is on the Cubs, he cannot face the Cubs. Despite his overall mediocrity, Sheets has been a Cubs-killer. Aramis Ramirez has hit just .232, and Alfonso Soriano just .267. He just beats up on the Cubs, plain and simple, but if he is a Cub, logic would dictate that Sheets would no longer be able to strike out Cubs' players.
Before Sheets can become a part of the Cubs, he will have to make some concessions. First, he has to agree to an incentive-laden one-year contract with an option for the second year. The Cubs should not tie up a ton of money in a risk, but at the same time, the Cubs will have to pay for his surgery. He may even have to swallow some minor league time, but the Cubs are on the cusp of greatness. Wouldn't he want to be a part of that?