Chicago Cubs: These relievers haven’t inspired confidence this spring

Rowan Wick / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Rowan Wick / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Craig Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /

Several relievers believed to have big roles to play if the Chicago Cubs are to be successful this season have started slowly in Cactus League action.

No one really knows how this season will go for the Chicago Cubs. When someone asked me where I thought they’d finish, I went with the truth: “They could finish anywhere from first to fourth. The only team I know they’ll be better than is the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

The talent is there. This is a roster with a former Rookie of the Year and MVP in Kris Bryant, a perennial All-Star in Anthony Rizzo and a franchise backstop in Willson Contreras. Jon Lester has a trio of World Series rings to his name and Kyle Hendricks is a former Cy Young finalist himself.

But the story the last two years is the team’s inability to be better than a sum of its individual pieces. After an early postseason exit in 2018, Chicago took a big step backward last season, winning only 84 games and watching the postseason from home come October.

A big reason for the team’s struggles? A bullpen that lacked consistency, especially in high-leverage, pressure-packed moments. The solution midseason? Sign Craig Kimbrel. But the potential Hall of Fame closer failed to live up to the hype down the stretch and now, everyone is wondering if he can get back on track in 2020.