Chicago Cubs: Next year’s bullpen could look wildly different

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

It’s been a roller coaster when it comes to the Chicago Cubs bullpen this season – but for better or worse, next year’s group could look quite different.

How would you describe this year’s Chicago Cubs relief corps? Inconsistent, maybe? There has been a seemingly endless shuttle going between the Windy City and Des Moines, with guys going back-and-forth on a regular basis. That’s not to mention the countless arms who’ve seen time on the IL, either.

Of course, Theo Epstein shored up the pen, signing closer Craig Kimbrel to a three-year, $43 million deal with a team option for 2022. But there’s a lot more to any pen than just a ninth-inning guy.

No matter how this season ends – with the Cubs battling with the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers for NL Central supremacy – next year, the team could have a vastly different group of arms out in the left-field bullpen.

Heck, we don’t even know if the same guy will be motioning to the pen next season. Joe Maddon is in the walk year of his contract and the front office isn’t talking turkey mid-season. But that’s a story for another time. For now, let’s focus on who will be on the other end of the bullpen phone, ready to answer the call.