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Cubs Sign Lieber Again

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 17, 2008 4:00PM

2008_01_sports_lieber.jpgAnswer quickly... who was the last Cubs pitcher to win 20 games?

Nope, not Zambrano. No, Prior never did it. Maddux? Not since 1992, during his first stint with the team. The last Cubs pitcher to win 20 was Jon Lieber in 2001 when he went 20-6.

On Wednesday, the Cubs again signed the 37 year old pitcher up for another tour of duty at Wrigley. Lieber previously pitched for the Cubs from 1999 until 2002. After missing the entire '03 campaign following reconstructive elbow surgery, he signed with the Yankees in '04. He spent the past three seasons with the Phillies.

Lieber is expected to compete with Ryan Dempster for the fifth starter spot, and Cubs GM Jim Hendry says he's excited by the depth he adds to the rotation, "It makes a lot of sense. We're trying to get as much volume as we can, depth-wise, into the rotation to make it more competitive in camp. … You like to have seven or eight starters available [in spring training]." Because given the Cubs track record they need eight starters just to have three or four ready for opening day!

In some ways, Lieber can be looked at as the replacement for the recently departed Prior, who signed with the San Diego Padres. We wonder who'll have the better season in 2008.

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