Chicago Cubs: Don’t stop doing what worked well
Theo Epstein has rarely resorted to spending high on closers, and there’s little reason to start now. Sure, Morrow didn’t exactly pan out due to injuries. But if he can recover and stay healthy in 2019, there’s no reason he can’t dominate again as he did in 2017. After all, his ERA with the Cubs in 2018 was a minuscule 1.47, and he still accumulated 22 saves.
Especially in an offseason where the Cubs will be fighting to avoid going over the competitive balance tax, a closer is not what they should prioritize spending on. MLB Trade Rumors projected Kimbrel would sign a four-year, $77 million contract. There’s too much of a risk that if the Cubs signed Kimbrel to that kind of deal, he could either get injured or struggle in 2019, and it would be another big contract wasted.
Instead, the Cubs should stay focused on acquiring cheaper, more under-the-radar bullpen options to bolster the group of returners. Assuming Morrow returns to form in 2019, they already have a closer lined up.
Sure, Craig Kimbrel could help shore up the Cubs bullpen with Brandon Morrow’s health still potentially in flux. But it’s generally not worth the investment to spend big on a lockdown closer when there are plenty of cheaper bullpen options out there who can get the job done.