Chicago Cubs: Carl Edwards Jr. trade will impact the team in 2020

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Outfielder Nicholas Castellanos slashed .321/.356/.646 in 51 games with the Chicago Cubs, clubbing 16 home runs and giving the lineup much-needed production down the stretch.

Not only did Castellanos add power and consistency at the top of the order, but he also won the hearts of Cub fans everywhere with his unbridled passion and intensity.

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While the Cubs mull whether or not they will re-sign Castellanos, another name that was acquired at the deadline already figures to be a stalwart in Chicago’s bullpen next season.

Wieck can light the candle

Shortly after the Cubs traded for Castellanos, the team announced that they were sending reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Brad Wieck. However, the story was more about Edwards’ departure than Wieck’s arrival.

Edwards debuted with the Cubs in 2015 and by 2016 he was a regular in their bullpen. He developed into one of the better relief arms in the game in 2017, posting a 2.98 ERA with a 1.010 WHIP and 12.8 K/9 rate.

Although Edwards replicated this success in 2018, a brutal September saw him fall out of Joe Maddon‘s circle of trust. A slow start in 2019 accompanied by more questions about his mentality and maturity on the mound made Edwards a likely trade candidate.

But Wieck was regarded as more of an afterthought. The left-hander had posted a 6.57 ERA and conceded seven homers in 30 appearances for the Padres in 2019.

Yet when September rolled around, Wieck proved to be an invaluable member of the Cubs bullpen. He tossed 10 innings across 14 appearances for Chicago, posting a 3.60 ERA with a 2.71 FIP and a dazzling 16.2 K/9.

Wieck showed that he has dominant potential. With a fastball in the upper-90s and a hard-biting curveball, he kept hitters off balance and leveraged his size and delivery to create deception. In fact, opposing hitters had a porous .398 OPS against Wieck in September.

Whereas Castellanos could ultimately turn out to have been a rental, Wieck is going to be a major contributor for a bullpen that has a ton of money coming off the books.

Lefty option in a makeshift bullpen

Chicago’s relief corps will look a whole lot different next season.

Pedro Strop, Brandon Kintzler and Steve Cishek are all unrestricted free agents. Brandon Morrow, David Phelps and Derek Holland all have team options that are likely to be declined. Essentially, this leaves Wieck, Rowan Wick and Craig Kimbrel ingrained as the major bullpen options still on the roster.

Fortunately, Wieck kills two birds with one stone. The Cubs have sorely lacked an impact left-hander since Brian Duensing had a career year in 2017, but Wieck could offer a late-game power option against both righties and lefties.

Next. Cubs roster will look different in 2020. dark

So while it was Castellanos that had the most immediate impact on the 2019 roster, the move to acquire Wieck could be the trade with the most long-standing ramifications for the Cubs.