Chicago Cubs: Does this team need a big-name closer?
In the Chicago Cubs’ two deepest postseason runs (2016 and 2017), they boasted some of the best closers in the game in Aroldis Chapman and Wade Davis. Granted, there’s a pretty wide divide between these guys, but they both fell in the upper echelon in their respective craft.
Let’s look at the last four World Series champions.
In 2015, the Kansas City Royals rode their super pen to the Fall Classic, after falling short against the San Francisco Giants the year prior. The back-end trio of Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland led them to the title – and all three put together outstanding performances. Holland finished 40 games for K.C. that year, pitching 11 times in the postseason and allowing just one earned run.
Of course, the Chicago Cubs acquired flamethrower Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees ahead of the deadline in 2016 and rode his left arm to a title. Following the trade, the southpaw posted a 1.01 ERA, appearing in 28 games. Of course, we all know the role he played come October.
The Houston Astros won the first title in franchise history in 2017 behind a tremendously talented young core. Ken Giles handled ninth-inning duties for Houston, making 63 appearances while pitching to a 178 ERA+, 2.39 FIP and 1.037 WHIP The 26-year-old struggled at times, but pulled it together for the home stretch late in the year.
And last, but certainly not least, the Boston Red Sox won their third title since the turn of the century in 2018 with a bullpen anchored by none other than Kimbrel himself.