Chicago Cubs: These free agent targets make most sense for team this winter
By Jake Misener
Chicago Cubs: Could another former Rays pitcher come to Wrigley?
In both the regular season and come playoff time, the Chicago bullpen took a big step backward in 2017. Outside of Wade Davis and maybe Brian Duensing, the team regularly failed to find consistency from their relievers.
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That’s not to say there’s not talent in the group coming back. I’m a firm believer in guys like Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop. Outside of that, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon aren’t exactly on the top of my wish-list when it comes to guys I want to give the ball to in high-pressure situations. With that thinking, the Cubs will undoubtedly add bullpen help this winter.
For me, Steve Cishek makes a lot of sense. MLBTR projects the right-hander getting a two-year deal in the $14 million range. I wouldn’t have any problem with Chicago giving a deal like that to a 31-year-old coming off a 2.01 ERA and 0.896 WHIP campaign.
The former Marlins closer racked up 117 saves from 2012 to 2016 and could very well be a lower-tier closer option for the Cubs if they choose to not bring back Wade Davis. In 2013, Cishek finished a league-leading 62 games for Miami. So, regardless of role, he’s got the high-leverage experience Chicago badly needs heading into 2018
In such situations, according to Baseball Reference, the right-hander has limited opponents to a batting average in the .220s over his career. His strikeout-to-walk ratio makes me a bit nervous, but you have to trust Jim Hickey to address that with the entire staff after the Cubs’ performance in that regard this season.