The non-tender deadline provided the Chicago Cubs with some unexpectedly strong free agent options including former Brewers pitcher Junior Guerra.
A surprising amount of valuable players became free agents at this year’s non-tender deadline and the Chicago Cubs have good reason to be interested. Between former Oakland Athletics closer Blake Treinen and Philadelphia Phillies middle infielder Cesar Hernandez, there are plenty of upgrades that can be made through non-tendered players alone.
Junior Guerra is one of those who finds himself in the free agent pool after the Brewers decided not to tender him a contract. This occurred despite a solid season last year in which the 34-year-old right-hander posted a 3.55 ERA in 72 appearances out of the bullpen while also posting the lowest WHIP of his career at 1.124.
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The Cubs could use more pitching depth, especially after non-tendering Danny Hultzen who may have been in play for a bullpen spot in 2020. Guerra’s time in Milwaukee saw him jump from the starting rotation to the bullpen and enjoy some success in both roles at some point in his career.
There are two worries about Guerra however: his age and his peripherals. The veteran is heading into his age-35 season and, despite the promising year he had last year, it is worth considering whether or not he can keep up the pace.
In the case of his peripherals, Guerra has almost consistently come off as a lucky pitcher. In 2016, 2017 and 2019, Guerra’s FIP was always around a whole run higher than his ERA, suggesting the Brewers defense bailed him out on multiple occasions.
Still, it’s hard to deny the amount of production he has given Milwaukee over the past few years and his experience coming out of the ‘pen and starting games. Potentially, Guerra could vie for the final rotation spot for the Cubs, though it would help the team to have a quality multi-inning relief piece with a relatively cheap price tag.
The Chicago Cubs will have a lot of decisions this offseason, but the non-tender deadline has provided them with a few new options to bolster their roster. Guerra is but one. That being said, though, he’s definitely one to consider due to the depth he looks to provide.