Cubs Rumors: Three closers to pursue at the trade deadline

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Ian Kennedy could fit the bill for the Chicago Cubs

One of the most heavily underrated closers from 2019 was starter turned closer Ian Kennedy of the Kansas City Royals. He’s a big-league veteran amid his fourteenth season in the majors, but this is only his second year as the Royals’ closer. Still, he’s adapted to the situation well and could be a worthwhile pickup.

Kennedy saved 30 games last season and posted a very respectable 3.41 ERA with a FIP under three. His curveball was particularly deadly, generating a swing-and-miss almost 25 percent of the time and clocking in with above-average spin rate at 2,687 RPM. He hasn’t found the same success so far this year, but it’s early, and he’s still worth a look.

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The main concern the Cubs should have with pursuing Kennedy right now is his struggle with the long ball this year. Again, it’s early, but he’s already given up four long balls in seven innings of work when he only gave up six in over sixty innings last year. Still, his strikeout numbers look good so far, and he has yet to issue a free pass, which is more than can be said about some of the team’s current arms.

He’s a free agent following the 2020 season, so he’d act as a rental for the Cubs and a pretty serviceable one at that. Perhaps he could be lumped in with a more significant trade for someone like Whit Merrifield, but they could get him for relatively cheap on his own. It’s hard to say whether he’d be closer material in Chicago, but his starting pitching background could make him a reliable reliever that could lock down multiple innings to get to the closer.