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Link Roundup: Jon Lieber Returns to Cubs

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-P- Jon Lieber has agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Cubs. This is a nifty move for Chicago, who gets a potentially decent starter for a very small price. Lieber's excellent control should be intact, so he should be able to post something near a league-average ERA if he stays healthy. This may move Sean Marshall out of the rotation and there's no good reason to prefer Lieber to Marshall, but Lieber's willing to work out of the bullpen if need be, and having an extra competent starter around is worth the headaches it causes if they're all healthy. Marshall also could be headed to Baltimore in a trade for Brian Roberts.

-P- Nate Robertson has signed a three-year, $21.25 million extension with the Tigers. I don't love this move for Detroit - Robertson had two more years of arbitration eligibility left, during which he probably would have made about $12 or $13 million total, so this buys out Robertson's first year of free agency (in 2010) at the cost of about $8 or $9 million. Robertson's not a bad pitcher, but he's already 30, and his strikeout rate took a dip next year. I'd rather just take my chances with him in arbitration, then let him go after 2009. Justin Verlander, Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman are all under control through 2010, though, so this is an effort to keep the rotation together until then.

-P- Jason Jennings has signed a one-year, $4 million deal with his hometown team, the Rangers. Jennings had a disaster of a year with Houston in 2007, and going to Arlington is a terrible way to get your career back on track. In spite of that, I like this move for Texas - Jennings isn't old, and he was a decent starter for Colorado before joining the Astros. The real problem he had last year was that he couldn't keep the ball down. He had some success in Coors Field because he generated ground balls. If the Rangers' coaches can help him keep his stuff down, he can be a productive member of the Rangers' rotation for a very low price. I'm sure I said something positive about the Cardinals' chances of fixing Kip Wells  last year, which shows that there's risk here - both are 30ish pitchers with disastrous recent performances and a record of modest success before that, and both signed contracts for $4 million or so. The Rangers shouldn't hesitate to replace Jennings with Kameron Loe or someone if he doesn't recover.