If you’re worried about the Chicago Cubs making moves to improve the pen this winter, things will only get worse if they wait till next year’s free agent class.
As things currently stand, four members of the Chicago Cubs bullpen could be free agents after the 2019 season. We have also been spoiled by deep free agent relief markets each of the last two offseasons. However, that will not be the case when the 2019 World Series is in the rearview mirror.
To avoid his last year of arbitration Pedro Strop signed a one-year contract before the 2018 season with a club option for 2019. The Cubs have already picked up said option. But that means that after this coming season, Strop could be a free agent for the first time in his career. Strop has arguably been one of the best setup men the Cubs have ever had. Last year, he even filled in as the closer and excelled at that too.
Steve Cishek signed a two-year deal with the Cubs last offseason. So he too could be a free agent after this coming year. Last year, Cishek pitched incredibly well for the Cubs (2.18 ERA, team-high 80 appearances). However, as other parts of the bullpen struggled, Cishek was over-used.
His second-half ERA (2.63) was almost a half run higher than in the first half of his season (1.88). And Cishek’s strikeout-to-walk ratio was much worse in September and October (1.50) than it was for the whole year (2.79).