Chicago Cubs: Team going with quantity in building the bullpen

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs haven’t added any big names for the bullpen for 2020. Instead, they’ve decided to pile up low-risk arms, hoping some work out.

We’ve already written plenty this offseason about how the Chicago Cubs have made no major moves as we get closer to the start of spring training for the 2020 season. The bullpen might be the biggest area of weakness heading into 2020, as the team is losing Steve Cishek (already signed with the Chicago White Sox), Brandon Kintzler, Pedro Strop, and David Phelps to free agency.

It’s looking more likely with every passing day that none of those pitchers will be coming back, as the team is standing firm in its unwillingness to spend more money this offseason. Yet, unlike with the other areas of the team, at least the Cubs have been willing to do SOMETHING when it comes to the bullpen for 2020.

On Friday, the Cubs added two more arms into the bullpen mix, signing Tyler Olson to a minor league deal and trading for Casey Sadler from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Again, these are not moves that are going to inspire much confidence in most Cubs fans. Yet it is indicative of the front office’s plan for the bullpen: stockpile as many arms as possible and hope that enough of them work out to build a decent group of relievers heading into the season.

Both Sadler and Olson have had success at the major league level. Sadler quietly posted a 2.14 ERA in 33 appearances between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019, while Olson pitched 20 scoreless innings for the Cleveland Indians in 2017. Olson hasn’t replicated that success over the past two years, posting a 4.66 ERA in 82 games over 2018 and 2019, but lefties are batting a career .210 against the southpaw.