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

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Experience will be key for next year’s team

As things currently stand, the Cubs will lose the following players at season’s end (barring those individuals choosing to re-sign with the team this winter or some other move):

The following players have team options heading into 2020:

More from Cubbies Crib

Obviously, the biggest bullpen losses come in the form of Strop, Kintzler and Cishek – arguably the three most prominent members of Joe Maddon‘s circle of trust. Strop has fallen out of favor a bit this year given his struggles and waning velocity – but he’s anchored the pen for the better part of a decade.

Cishek is undoubtedly Maddon’s go-to guy in pretty much any tough spot. He relies on this guy to get the big outs in the high-pressure moments. Given what he’s done since coming to Chicago last year (2.76 ERA/1.094 WHIP in 134 appearances), he’ll be a hot commodity on the market this winter.

Meanwhile, Kintzler, who forced his way onto the club by exercising his player option for 2019 after the Cubs declined their team option on him, is a redemption story. After a brutal stretch late last season after joining the team midseason, he’s been a steady hand in the mix for Maddon, working to a 2.51 ERA this year.

As you can see, there are a lot of holes in this pen heading into next year. But the young arms may be ready to carry the load sooner than you may think.