Chicago Cubs: A bold look one year into the future
The 2020 Chicago Cubs bullpen starts and ends with Carl Edwards. He has to conquer the control demons that plagued him down the stretch last season. Alongside Edwards, the Cubs will probably exercise Brach’s option if he pitches well this year.
I doubt the front office will pick up Morrow’s option. Instead, they will probably use the $3 million buyout on his contract. He could get hurt again. Or, if we’re being honest, he could pitch to a level hardly worth $9 million.
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Montgomery might be in the bullpen, but could begin 2020 in the starting rotation. Even if he begins the year in the bullpen, the last three years have shown us it is only a matter of time before he is needed in the rotation.
The Cubs may try to re-sign Strop and/or Cishek, but that is not a certainty. Both guys may choose to sign with another team even if the Cubs want them. The front office may see some warning signs that one or both of them are not going to not age well. Time will tell.
Chatwood will have one more year on his contract if he is still around. But that is a big if. However, if Chatwood lasts through all of 2019 there is a really good chance that he figured things out and that he will be closer to the pitcher the Cubs thought they were signing rather than the one who lead the Major leagues in walks last season.
The rest of the bullpen will have to come from the limited free agent market, costly trades or from the minor league system. The Cubs have already used a lot of trade capital to acquire Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis and Justin Wilson during this competitive window. When so many high-quality relievers have been available in free agency the last two offseasons, I would hate to see the team trade away prospects for the bullpen again.