Chicago Cubs: Four in-house players that are critical for the second half

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Kimbrel was a need, not a want

This is the clear choice of these four, as his ability to lock down games in the ninth is why they signed him. The Cubs needed Kimbrel. There were also twenty other teams that would have liked him in their bullpen. But this team had a need.

The Cubs were without a ‘true’ closer option. Pedro Strop is a fantastic set-up man, but not a closer. Steve Cishek was, but now he’s a better late-inning guy for the seventh or eighth inning. Morrow was brought in as the closer last season, but injuries have taken a reliable option from the bullpen. But again, not a closer. Kimbrel is the definition of it.

He’s a seven-time All-Star. His career ERA is 1.91. He’s saved 333 of 367, 90.7% conversion rate. The Cubs conversion rate on saves wasn’t anywhere near 90.7 this year. This is what the Cubs needed. It also strengthens the bullpen by pushing everyone back into a role they’re more familiar with.

The downside is several of the members of this current Cubs bullpen won’t be in a few weeks. Once Kimbrel is ready to go, that’s one move. Hopefully, Morrow will return by the end of July, and that will be two. For the Cubs, this is great. Having the seventh through ninth covered by Strop, Morrow and Kimbrel–with Cishek, Carl Edwards Jr. and Brandon Kintzler in that mix? Joe Maddon will like those options.