Chicago Cubs need to do more than piece together a bullpen

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by David Banks/ Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Assessing the team’s current mix of arms

We’ve already heard rumblings the Cubs could look to bring back the oft-injured Brandon Morrow on a minor league deal this winter. While, if healthy, the right-hander adds definite swing-and-miss stuff, that’s a big ‘if’ to say the least.

Kimbrel lost a tick over the last few years, but with multiple years left on his deal, he’s going to close games in 2020. At this point, we can only hope a full spring training and regular ramp-up will help him be more effective moving forward.

While we can speculate about potential signings till we’re blue in the face, let’s take a look at who we know will be in the mix for Chicago come next spring.

Besides Kimbrel, Wick seems to be the name with the highest ceiling. After making some critical adjustments, the right-hander worked to a 2.43 ERA, 2.82 FIP and 9.5 K/9 mark across 33 1/3 innings of work. It stands to reason that he’ll get the nod in the eighth inning next year.

First-year manager David Ross will have a pair of southpaws returning in 2020 in Wieck and Ryan. Both look like legitimate options, but I don’t know if either qualify as a shutdown late-inning guy. But it’s from the right side where potential stands out more than any proven experience.

Tyler Chatwood could, at least in theory, continue to serve in a swingman role in the final year of his deal. The right-hander pitched effectively in that role last year, especially as a reliever, where he amassed 54 innings with a 1.278 WHIP and 8.8 K/9. Then again, if Epstein doesn’t add another starting pitcher, he may fill the void left by Cole Hamels, who departed via free agency.