Chicago Cubs: There are real question marks in the bullpen

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Can Kintzler get his head straight this year?

Brandon Kintzler pitched significantly worse after being traded to the Cubs last season (ERA 7.00) than he did prior to the trade for the Nationals (ERA 3.59). He was then left off the Cubs playoff roster.

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Justin Wilson was in a similar situation last offseason. After the Cubs traded for Wilson in 2017 he walked 19 batters in 17 2/3 innings. Wilson’s ERA with the Cubs was 5.09 after having an ERA of only 2.89 with the Tigers. But in 2018 Wilson recovered to post a 3.45 ERA and he only walked 33 batters in 54 2/3 innings.

Wilson last year might have had a higher ceiling than Kintzler does coming into this year. Kintzler depends on a high groundball rate and doesn’t strike out many batters (6.1 per 9 innings for his career). I also would not be surprised to hear rumors of the Cubs front office trying to trade away Kintzler and his $5 million salary.

If he isn’t traded away, Kintzler remains a veteran reliever with a long history of success. One hopes he might bounce back in his first full season with the Cubs after failing to pitch well for Chicago following that midseason trade. Will he bounce back like Justin Wilson did?

That is Kintzler’s question.