Chicago Cubs: Juan Nicasio makes sense for team in 2018
By Erik Mauro
In 2017, the Chicago Cubs’ bullpen has been a hot topic of conversation amongst fans. Is the bullpen good? Maybe it’s bad? Is the bullpen nothing special? Regardless, teams can never have too many bullpen arms. Here is one guy the Cubs have been connected to as recently as a few weeks ago.
Juan Nicasio is a name Chicago Cubs fans should be familiar with by this point. The right-hander has been a consistently good, late-inning reliever since being converted full-time in 2015 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course, not playing in Coors Field anymore has that effect as well.
Over the course of his career, as a starter, Nicasio owns a 5.11 ERA, with a .280/.343/.472 opponent slash-line, equaling an .815 OPS in 82 starts. As a reliever, however, Nicasio has appeared in 183 games, posting a 3.47 ERA, with a .243/.317/.372 slash-line, which is just a .689 OPS. Those results speak for themselves. This season, Nicasio set up games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, proving that he can be an effective late-inning reliever.
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Nicasio followed a weird path this season, though. He opened the year in the Pittsburgh pen. At the waiver trade deadline on August 31, the Phillies claimed Nicasio.
A week or so later, on Sept. 6, the Cardinals acquired Nicasio for the playoff push. But, here’s the thing. The other team linked to the right-hander? The Chicago Cubs.
That’s right, the Cubs were the team that wanted Nicasio before the Phillies swooped in and got him, according to reports. The Pirates, understandably, didn’t want to trade with a division rival, that’s pretty rare in today’s game. Nicasio, however, is a free agent at the end of the season. Don’t be surprised to see the Cubs try to make a run at him this winter. Not even a big contract, anything around a two-to-three year contract would work just fine, for a guy with his resume.
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Right now, the back of the Cubs’ bullpen consists of Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, Jr., Brian Duensing, and Wade Davis. Duensing and Davis are both free agents, and both have been everything the Cubs have asked and more. Nicasio would do more than enough to fill that void, because, after all… a team can never have too many relievers.