The Cubs’ 2016 bullpen will be full of depth but starting pitching as well. Should any of the five starters struggle or get hurt, the team has a plethora of options to step in.
Between Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard, Adam Warren and Travis Wood, the team has four starters waiting in the bullpen if needed. All four have excelled in the ‘pen, however, so moving them to a starting role could be detrimental to the late inning pitching performance.
Speaking of the late innings, the team’s set-up men and closer are returning off of solid seasons in 2015. Justin Grimm had a sub-2.00 ERA and consistently got the team out of jams when needed. The same can be said for Pedro Strop, who had a sub 3.o0 ERA. However, Strop got himself into jams via walks, something he’ll need to improve on this season.
Closer Hector Rondon returns to his ninth inning role in 2016 after two strong seasons there. Rondon followed up his 29 saves in 2014 with 30 more in 2015, going along with his 1.67 ERA. However, Maddon removed him from the closer role in 2015, so it is clear he will make any changes as needed. If Rondon struggles, look for Grimm to get a shot in the ninth.
Cahill (with Cubs): 11 games, 17.0 IP, 1-0, 2.12 ERA, 22 SO
Grimm: 62 games, 49.2 IP, 3-5, 1.99 ERA, 67 SO
Ramirez: 19 games, 14 IP, 1-0, 3.21 ERA, 15 SO
Richard: 23 games (3 starts), 42.1 IP, 4-2, 3.83 ERA, 22 SO
Rondon: 72 games, 70.0 IP, 6-4, 1.67 ERA, 69 SO
Strop: 76 games, 68.0 IP, 2-6, 2.91 ERA, 81 SO
Warren: 43 games (17 starts), 131.1 IP, 7-7, 3.29 ERA, 104 SO
Wood: 54 games (9 starts), 100.2 IP, 5-4, 3.84 ERA, 118 SO