Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Cubs’ bullpen hasn’t had a lot of chances to save games this year. And let’s be honest, there probably won’t be an abundance the rest of the season either. But to start this season the back-end of the bullpen has been a train wreck, and that’s being generous.
Jose Veras was brought in to be the closer this off-season. He was given a 1 year/$4 million dollar deal. Career save total? 26. In nine years in the big leagues. No competition was held. It was to be Veras’ job coming out of camp. In spring ball Veras looked rusty, and his outings weren’t very successful. But in the spring it’s about putting in the work and stretching out. Unfortunately he carried that over into the regular season and was quickly demoted from the job after two blown saves.
"Manager Rick Renteria hasn’t named a new closer, and has been vague by saying “We’ll play it by ear,” as told to ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers."
Today, the “ear” brought about Pedro Strop. The results were not so successful as Strop ended with the blown save, most directly the result of walks. Cubs fans are all too familiar with that after watching former Cubs’ closer Carlos Marmol. It appeared as if Renteria gave Strop some words of encouragement while making the pitching change in the ninth, so Strop may have another life.
If Strop doesn’t get the next chance, Justin Grimm is likely next in line, assuming the Cubs can provide a save opportunity in the near future. Grimm doesn’t have any experience closing games, but the Cubs’ dugout thinks he has the mental make-up to handle the role.
But my money is on Hector Rondon. The young man has been sharp, showing good command, and pitches to contact. If and when Rondon gets a chance, however, is yet to be seen.
At this point, this may come all the way back around and Veras may get another chance. Or Kevin Gregg is still available. He doesn’t seem that bad an option now.