Chicago Cubs: Relief pitcher market beginning to thin out

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Which trade targets could be in play?

Relievers are dealt mainly at one time of year, the trade deadline. That is when their value is highest considering how fickle arms can be, contenders generally want to rely on arms that are good in-season and not base moves on what happened the year before. But trades involving relievers in the offseason do still happen.

One place that may be of interest is the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs and Giants had been linked in trade rumors and the Giants may consider selling some assets off and shedding salary while focusing long-term.

Tony Watson and Will Smith are some intriguing names. Watson, 32, has two years of control left and put up a 2.59 ERA, 2.45 FIP and 1.03 WHIP in 66 innings last year. Smith, 29, returned after missing 2017 and pitched to a 2.55 ERA, 2.07 FIP and 0.981 WHIP in 53 innings.

These are just a few names, there are other teams that are not looking like contenders who have interesting bullpen pieces. Who knows if the Giants will even want to/demand, just seems more likely considering their position than other teams. If Epstein wants to trade for some bullpen assets now, it may involve a position player swap or be part of a package deal.

Next. Holland could make sense at the right price. dark

Chances are he pulls off something. A few signings, a trade or just bringing in some no-name that may work out on a minor-league deal. Don’t be shocked if he checks more than one of those boxes before next spring. The bullpen, as currently constructed, cannot hold down the fort over a 162-game season – let alone a deep October run.