ARLINGTON, TX – JULY 24: Kyle Barraclough #46 of the Miami Marlins throws against the Texas Rangers in the eighth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 24, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Upgrading the Chicago Cubs bullpen has been on the to-do list all winter. If the team closes the door on Wade Davis, could a 27-year-old Miami Marlins hurler be a target?
The Chicago Cubs entered the offseason with multiple holes in the bullpen to fill. The club lost Wade Davis, Brian Duensing and Koji Uehara to free agency. Hector Rondon was soon after designated for assignment.
All signs indicated big moves regarding the bullpen. But, this winter, they certainly aren’t alone.
Everyone is looking for back-end help, because that’s the direction the game is going. Starting pitchers are throwing fewer pitches in shorter starts. Once October hits, bullpens are eating up five or more innings on a nightly basis.
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Naturally, when starting pitchers are pulled prior to the fifth or sixth inning, the burden of responsibility falls on the shoulders of relief pitchers. Most teams that consider themselves contenders are aiming to make supplemental additions to their pen.
The free agent market has been developing especially slow this winter. In fact, it’s December 21 and Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Todd Fraizer and Jonathan Lucroy are without a home just days before Christmas.
The reliever market has, thus far, been moving more quickly than the position player and starting pitcher market. The Cubs have already inked a couple of right-handers to two-year deals in Brandon Morrow (2/$21M) and Steve Cishek (2/$13M), but there is still at least one spot up for grabs.
That could be filled with a reunion with Davis, but other teams are heavily interested in him as well.