Chicago Cubs: Five noteworthy free agents who remain unsigned

Andrew Cashner, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Andrew Cashner, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs, Pat Neshek (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Pat Neshek

The Cubs have added a lot of names to their bullpen mix for this season. Yet they could certainly use an established veteran bullpen presence as their current group of relievers is lacking in them. One cheap, bounceback candidate option could be the well-traveled, 39-year-old sidearmed right-hander Pat Neshek.

Neshek has had a great career as a middle reliever. He’s made 544 career appearances, all in relief, and boasts a career ERA of 2.82. As recently as 2017, he pitched 62 1/3 innings between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Colorado Rockies, posting an ERA of just 1.59. As his career has gone on, he’s been stingy with walks; since 2014, he’s only allowed 1.5 free passes per nine innings.

For Neshek, injuries have been a big problem, as he missed significant time each of the last two seasons. Last year, with the Phillies, he only pitched 18 innings with an ERA of 5.00, tied for the highest ERA of his career. He missed a good chunk of 2019 with a hamstring injury.

For this reason, Neshek would probably come cheap, maybe even on a minor league deal. If so, the Cubs might want to take a flyer on him. Of course, at 39 years old and with all the injury issues, he could be washed up. Yet it would be a low-risk chance to take. The upside would be that he regains his form from a few years ago and provides a solid middle relief veteran presence.