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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Wick served notice to the NL that he could be a force

There is currently one big name on the bullpen salary list if Chatwood is considered a starter in 2020: closer Craig Kimbrel. At $16 million, Kimbrel could very well be the only reliever who makes more than a million dollars.

If they so desired, the Cubs could roll into next year carrying Kimbrel and a bunch of guys making somewhere between the league minimum and a million bucks. While it’s doubtful they do just that, given the performance of the pen last year, it’s hard to quibble with this cheaper alternative.

Epstein and Jed Hoyer will be on the lookout for bargain-basement options and dive into a few dumpsters. Still, without another big signing for the relief corps, the total damage for the entire 2020 pen would fall short of what we paid for Kimbrel, Cishek, and Strop a season ago.

Amongst those not making a ton of money but capable of making a ton of impact: Rowan Wick, Kyle Ryan, Alec Mills, Brad Wieck, Duane Underwood Jr. Dillon Maples, Adbert Alzolay, James Norwood, Danny Hultzen, Tyson Miller, Colin Rea, Justin Steele, and newly acquired Jharel Cotton. Chances are, the first four will be locks with the rest of the spots going to cheap veteran pick-ups and the rest of the guys on this list riding the Iowa shuttle based on need and performance during the season.