Chicago Cubs: Roster still holds some mystery to it

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Right-handed Situational Relief Pitcher

The Cubs have a solid set of relievers. That said, they have yet to identify a right-handed bullpen arm that will offer depth to that unit. This sort of pitcher would be able to close out lopsided games but would also have to be capable of getting big outs when the other bullpen arms were taxed. Last year, Justin Grimm served in this role. Unfortunately for him, he struggled more often than he flourished, which has opened the door for others.

The Contenders

Grimm (incumbent), Shae Simmons, Dillon Maples, Corey Mazzoni, Luke Farrell, Eddie Butler, Justin Hancock

The Battle

Grimm pitched to an ERA over 5.50 in 2017. Simply put, he has been unreliable and inconsistent throughout his career. Butler threw okay in 11 starts in 2017, but he isn’t a particularly deceptive thrower nor does he miss many bats. Farrell, Mazzoni and Hancock are more “camp arms” than contenders.

Simmons struggled in 9 games last season (in Seattle) but pitched very well in 2014 for Atlanta and has a live arm. Maples is a bit of a wildcard. He has been in the organization since 2012 but was lit up in his first stint in the majors. He does throw hard though and is considered to be on the rise. Ruling him out altogether would be a mistake.

The Verdict

I am in the camp that believes Grimm’s clock has struck midnight. Even a slight falter in the spring and he loses whatever edge he may have in this battle. While Maples will push, I think Shae Simmons winds up earning this role.