Chicago Cubs: Getting Pedro Strop back isn’t the answer in the bullpen

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: There’s more to fixing the pen than Strop’s return

Chicago has blown nearly half of their save opportunities thus far in 2019. Without the guy signed to close ball games (Brandon Morrow) or his fill-in (Pedro Strop), the Cubs have gone with the ever-worrisome closer-by-committee approach.

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It’s not that such a concept can’t work – surely, it can. But when you lack shutdown arms to step into that void, you feel more like Donkey in the movie Shrek, terrified as you make your way across a rickety bridge over a boiling lake of lava.

But never fear. Strop is nearing a return after hitting the shelf with a hamstring injury that limited him to just a dozen ineffective innings of work. (To be fair, his 3.68 FIP is far kinder to him than his unsightly 5.06 ERA – but he wasn’t near as sharp as we were accustomed to seeing him).

In my mind, though, that’s only part of the solution here. Strop slots back into his setup role – one where he’s been incredibly successful in his Cubs career. The likes of Steve Cishek shifts back to a fireman-type spot in the pen, used whenever Joe Maddon gets the inkling and literally has no one else he’s willing to trust.

So while Strop definitely improves the outlook in the pen, he’s actually only part of what Chicago needs to do. The other piece? Well, they need to do the same thing they’ve had on their wish list since the holidays: get a shutdown closer.