Chicago Cubs: Big questions at the back end of the pen
The Cubs’ biggest bullpen addition last offseason, Brandon Morrow, pitched masterfully – that is, when he was physically able to pitch, something that proved to not be the case in the entire second half of the season. On the year, he notched a 1.47 ERA, 1.076 WHIP and 1.4 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.
His biggest issue, quite simply, is that he couldn’t stay on the field to help the team close out games. And once Strop went down with injury in the season’s final month, getting the final outs of a ballgame became rather interesting, to put it mildly.
The right-hander went under the knife in December and could be out until May – leaving a hole at the back of the Chicago bullpen. Now, Strop proved he’s capable of handling ninth-inning duties last year – but I personally like employing him as a fireman, to be used whenever the need is most dire. His swing-and-miss stuff ranks among the best in the staff and I’d hate to have to hold him back for the ninth.
Which brings us back to this offseason, one in which the Cubs’ front office has been woefully absent from any major moves (sorry, Daniel Descalso). But with time running out, Epstein has to add to the pen if the team has any shot at returning to the top of the National League Central in 2019.