Chicago Cubs: Two relievers who would help fill out this bullpen

Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

In another offseason filled with low-risk, high-reward signings, Cody Allen and Luke Gregerson are two relievers who could fill out this Cubs bullpen.

The Cubs have shown an unyielding emphasis on getting under the luxury tax, which means another boring offseason filled with uncertainty and frustration. They’ve let a lot of key pieces walk, while signing a handful of players who need the opportunity to prove they can still play at a high level.

Brandon Morrow and Jeremy Jeffress are two bullpen arms the team has signed that fit the low-risk, high-reward idea. With a bullpen that arguably still needs a few more pieces to fill itself out, there are a few free agent pitchers out there that could provide high upside at a low cost.

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The first name comes in the form of a familiar competitor in Cody Allen. In case anyone forgot, the Cubs faced Allen as the closer of the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. The 31-year-old righty has shown dominance in his career but appears to have lost his way the past few seasons. In seven seasons with the Indians, Allen tossed an impressive 2.98 ERA with 149 saves, good for the Indians all-time record. He was at the top of his class at the closer role but has found some hardship beginning in 2018, his final year in Cleveland. He managed to lock down 27 saves but had a 4.70 ERA and five blown save opportunities along with that.

The Indians let him go after 2018 and was signed by the Angels in 2019, where he posted an even worse ERA of 6.26 in just 26 innings before being designated for assignment. He ended up inking a minor league deal with the Twins afterwards but currently stands as a free agent.

This seems like the perfect opportunity for the Cubs to hop in. A previously dominant arm at a crossroads in his career. Allen is just two seasons removed from a sub-three ERA and 30-plus saves. Currently valued at a minor league contract, he may be worth taking another flier on in hopes of returning to old form.

The other name should have some familiarity in Luke Gregerson. The 35-year-old Illinois native has shown dominance in his 11-year career in which he has played for the Padres, Athletics, Astros and Cardinals. From when he entered the league in 2009 through 2017, the righty reliever never posted an ERA above 3.24. Impressive stuff as he sports a career ERA of 3.15.

He has fallen off since 2017, posting a 4.57 ERA with the Astros in 61 innings and then combining for just 18 and one-third innings and a 7.36 ERA in 2018 and 2019 with the Cardinals. After signing a two-year, $11 million deal with St Louis, they released him in May of 2019.

Gregerson presents an opportunity for another low-cost arm who has a track record of success in this league. We know the motivation players can get from a one-year contract, so it may be worth taking another chance here to see what the Cubs can get out of him.

While it may not be for anything big, we know the Cubs are actively pursuing moves and will be the rest of this offseason. The reliever market is still open and the Cubs have an opportunity to bring in a few more low-risk, high-reward options to finalize this bullpen.

2020 Cubs comes in with unproven arms and that's fantastic. dark. Next

The upside of some of the arms already brought in is intriguing, so by adding an arm like Allen or Gregerson to see if they can tap into previous form would add to that potential this team already has.