Chicago Cubs: Bold predictions for the upcoming offseason

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Big money headed toward the late innings

The Cubs look fairly set around the diamond going into 2016.

As previously mentioned, center field may be a focus if Fowler doesn’t return and the need for a starting pitcher was made clear after the NLCS but the biggest spend will be on the bullpen.

To start, the all-important eighth and ninth-inning options are both restricted free agents this year. Expect closer Hector Rondon to jump from the $544,000 he made in 2015 to around the $4M mark for 2016.

Set-up man Pedro Strop should also get a raise from his $2.5M salary to closer to $3.5M. Add to them Justin Grimm, who will jump from $531,000 to $2,000,000. Starter-turned-reliever Travis Wood made $5.6M last season and will go into arbitration looking for a similar number for 2016.

Other relievers Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard and Fernando Rodney are all free agents and will need to be replaced or re-signed. Looking at the success of the Royals the past two seasons as a model and given Joe Maddon’s love for a bullpen game when needed, expect the Cubs to spend on the bullpen in order to protect leads and shorten games.

With many options on the market, the Cubs won’t hesitate to shore up the pen and spend when necessary in order to do so.

Next: One fan calls for an unlikely trade partner