Chicago Cubs: The bullpen could be a strength in 2020

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs have experienced bullpen questions all offseason. With all the low risk, high reward signings, the bullpen could be a strength in 2020.

The Chicago Cubs have not had an exciting offseason by any means. The biggest names of the offseason so far have been Jason Kipnis and Steven Souza Jr. There has been a constant for the Cubs and their signings this offseason. Pretty much every guy that has been signed has been a low risk, possibly high reward type guy. The bullpen especially is full of guys that fit that narrative.

The only guy that will be on the roster this season that was on the Opening Day roster in 2019 will be Tyler Chatwood. The Cubs lost their late-inning guys from last season. Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, and Brandon Kintzler all left the Cubs via free agency.

The Cubs overall had a pretty solid bullpen in 2019. The bullpen posted a 3.98 ERA, which was No. 8 in all of the MLB. The real story was in high leverage situations where the Cubs struggled. In those high leverage situations, the Cubs posted a 7.92 ERA, which was 24th in the MLB. The bullpen will look completely different coming into 2020, but that could be the breath of fresh air the Cubs will be needing.

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There will be some familiar faces that will be back in 2020, such as Kyle Ryan, who was one of the Cubs better relievers in 2019. The lefty Ryan posted a 3.54 ERA in 61 innings pitched. Ryan, by mid-season, was a staple in the Cubs bullpen. Hopefully, with a full year in the big leagues, Ryan will continue to get better and help the Cubs win games.

Rowan Wick will also be back in 2020 with the Cubs. Wick was excellent during 2019 as he posted a 2.43 ERA in 31 appearances. Wick will most likely be asked to be in a much higher leverage role in 2020, along with Ryan.

Craig Kimbrel will be the Cubs closer and will look to bounce back after a very difficult 2019. The Cubs hope that a full spring training will get Kimbrel back to where he was before last season. Singing in June and making his first appearance in late June, Kimbrel struggled. Posting a 6.53 ERA and only 13 saves in 23 appearances. The Cubs will need Kimbrel to get back to his old ways to have a chance to get back to the postseason.

The rest of the Cubs bullpen will be decided during spring training. Jeremy Jeffress, Adbert Alzolay, Duane Underwood Jr., Brandon Morrow, Dillon Maples, Alec Mills, James Norwood, Manny Rodriguez, Ryan Tepera, Brad Wieck and Dan Winkler will be the guys fighting for a spot on the big league club.

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Jeffress, who the Chicago Cubs saw a lot of while he was with the Brewers, will be looking to bounce back to his 2018 form this season. He struggled with injuries in 2019 with the Brewers. Jeffress could be a guy that is asked to save games if Kimbrel needs a day off as he closer experience.

Many of the guys in the bullpen have had down years in the past but have shown that they can be outstanding in the big leagues. The Cubs will need these guys to bounce back in 2020, and if they do, the Cubs bullpen can be a real strength in 2020.