Chicago Cubs: Analyzing key veteran depth on the roster
Chicago Cubs: A veteran reliever could be huge down the stretch
Cubs fans remember very well what righty reliever Jeremy Jeffress did for the rival Milwaukee Brewers for several years. In 2018 he pitched to a 1.29 ERA, 2.78 FIP and 0.991 WHIP in 76.2 innings. Jeffress, 32, is a career 3.16 ERA pitcher in 392 games. The Cubs brought him in on a one-year, $850,000 deal back in February.
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Jeffress struggled in 2019 with a 5.02 ERA and 1.4 WHIP in 52 innings. Despite struggling last year, Jeffress has a good enough track record to give the Cubs hope he can rebound in 2020. If he is pitching well he can be relied on to pitch in late-inning situations. He and Rowan Wick are likely two of the primary candidates for the setup man position.
There is plenty of justified concern about the bullpen. On paper the potential is high, but the struggles of last year do not exactly have all fans giving the pen the benefit of the doubt. Craig Kimbrel is slated as the Cubs closer and his short tenure as a Cub so far has not been good. If he continues to struggle and Jeffress pitches well, one could wonder if he ends up making his way to the closer spot. Jeffress has 44 career saves in 61 opportunities.
Should 2018 Jeffress be expected? No. However it seems fair to think he can be solid/good for the team. Cubs are going to need solid from him at the very least as the bullpen cannot mess around this year.
Most of these guys will likely be short-term solutions. The Cubs have not signed anyone to a big multi-year deal in a while. However that does not mean they will not be important. Depth is key to contending even if the names are not overly flashy.