Can Maddon trust the bullpen in 2017?
There’s no questioning that Maddon struggled to trust the bullpen–at least most of it–in the World Series. It’s not unusual to see a starter make a relief appearance in the World Series. But Lester’s wasn’t necessarily because he was the right choice. Maddon simply didn’t trust the other guys out there. So how will things change this year?
There’s no more Aroldis Chapman. No more Travis Wood. Maddon will have some “new” faces. Wade Davis isn’t new to Maddon(played for him in Tampa Bay), but new to the Cubs. Koji Uehara has had a solid career and joins the pen as well. Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop will see their roles shift from the eighth and ninth innings to earlier in the game. Similar to how things changed when Chapman arrived.
The health of the pen will be the most important factor for the Cubs. With the injuries to Strop and Rondon last year, Maddon seemed to lose faith in them. Montgomery was one of the arms he trusted, but he’s likely to find himself in the rotation. So when Maddon looks to–under the outfield? That will take some getting used to. Anyhow, who will he have the confidence in to go to?