Chicago Cubs Rumors: Team still focusing on arms as deadline nears

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Chicago Cubs Rumors: Team eyeing young bullpen assets

The elephant is in the room.

This team likely needs to add to the pen to have a legitimate shot at lasting deep into October. That’s not to say the current roster lacks talent. Rather, it’s a simply a statement as to how heavily the relief corps has been pushed so far this season.

Cubs starters have pitched the fourth-fewest innings in the National League. This has led to a revolving door between Iowa and Chicago – thankfully, with some degree of quality. But adding at least one more arm seems to be a ‘need’ at this point.

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Enter San Diego right-hander Kirby Yates and Jays reliever Ryan Tepera. Both guys come with a relative level of controllability – and the former has developed a devastating split-fingered pitch that’s led to his emergence as one of the league’s best relievers.

In 42 games, Yates carries a 1.52 ERA and 2.05 FIP – not to mention an unthinkably low 0.871 WHIP across 41 1/3 innings of work. This guy would give the Cubs a very solid bullpen piece for the foreseeable future, and take the load off back-end guys like Pedro Strop and Steve Cishek.

(Not to mention, our very own Alex Patt pointed to Yates as a key target earlier this month).

As for Tepera, whom the Cubs scouted recently, as well, he carries some more ‘normal’ numbers. In four years with Toronto, the right-hander boasts a respectable 3.49 ERA (4.19 FIP) and 1.141 WHIP. This season, he is averaging a career-high 9.9 strikeouts per nine, evidence of his swing-and-miss stuff.