Chicago Cubs management delivered on their offseason plan

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Clearly Pitching is the Priority

Cubbies Crib’s Jake Misener pointed out in this late 2017 article that pitching was the priority need the Cubs should address during the offseason. Beyond the mention of Chatwood, it is clear Maddon agreed with this take on many levels.

When asked about the bullpen situation, Maddon said, “You got to have that great bullpen to play the last game of the year and win it…that’s a big part of our conversation upstairs is talking about bullpen, trying to acquire the right guys.”

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Without a doubt, Maddon recognized that whatever roster changes were made would need to focus on this objective. He went on to mention Brian Duensing (a free agent at the time) by name. The subsequent resigning of Duensing framed just how valuable Maddon thinks the lefty reliever was to the Cubs and may, more importantly, demonstrate how locked in the skipper is with the Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

Duensing is exactly the kind of player – aging, bit-part contributor, craftily adjusting to a drop in pitch velocity – that managers love but front offices typically let walk away. Locking him in for another two seasons demonstrates the trust Epstein has in Maddon’s input.

Epstein and Hoyer went on to bring in a handful of additional veterans that figure to push for bullpen spots. Steve Cishek, Brandon Morrow, Shae Simmons and Dario Alvarez all figure to get a look as bullpen arms. In regards to targeting the relievers the team did get, it was Epstein who framed the desired profile best.