Cubs 2020 bullpen could be better and cheaper than before

Craik Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Craik Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

If you found yourself lamenting the performance and cost of the Chicago Cubs 2019 bullpen, there could be relief on both counts right around the corner.

The Chicago Cubs bullpens are fickle creatures that bear no resemblance to the oft mundane nature of consistent major league ballplayers who follow routines and have similar stats year-in and year-out. One year, you catch lightning in a bottle with a rare vintage of Brian Duensing, circa 2017. The next, you can’t get rid of that bitter and mediocre Riesling… er Duensing fast enough.

That being said, it’s hard to come to grips with how bad some of the usually stellar Cubs relievers were at times in 2019. Some of the guys, like Pedro Strop and Steve Cishek, had pitched fabulously for both the Cubs and Joe Maddon for years. Others had shown promise at times in big situations for the Cubs, like Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montgomery, but had struggled to find consistency out of the pen. Still others, like handsomely paid closer Craig Kimbrel, were expected to be very good and laid an egg in the first go-round in the Friendly Confines.

While the 2019 iteration of the Chicago Cubs bullpen came up a bit short in terms of expectations and performance, some signs could be pointing to a much better and a much cheaper relief unit next season. Between trades, saying goodbye to costly vets who were once good for the Cubs, and jettisoning oft-injured guys, the Cubs could very well experience a considerable upswing in performance out of the pen at a much cheaper cost than last season