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
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Cubs could look into Pirates closer Keone Kela

If the Chicago Cubs decide to scour their own division for pieces to improve with, one of their best options would be to look at Pirates closer Keone Kela. Though he has yet to pitch this year due to COVID-19, Kela’s proven himself to be one of the sneakier good bullpen arms since 2015. Aside from a down year in 2016, he’s always had an ERA under 3.50 and, more often than not, finds himself sitting below three.

In 2019, Kela had an ERA at 2.12 with a WHIP of 1.011 and FIP of 3.52 through 29 2/3 innings, furthering the narrative that he’s a reliever worth serious attention. The Cubs would likely lean on him more than the Pirates have, but obviously, health is a concern when looking at bringing him in. His 2019 performance was hindered by right shoulder issues that kept him out for much of the season, but it hasn’t seemed to slow him down.

Kela’s a fairly obvious target for the Cubs given that they’re more familiar with his stuff and that he’s highly expected to leave Pittsburgh this year via the trade deadline. The Pirates are sitting at the bottom of the division, and he’s easily their best bullpen piece. Assuming his health is in order by the deadline, he’s definitely worth acquiring given his stuff and pedigree between the Pirates and the Rangers.

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There are far more relievers out there that the Chicago Cubs could take a look at, but these three represent a few rental closers that fit the team’s need for production out of the bullpen. If this truly is the team’s “Last Dance,” they need to pull out all of the stops to make the most of this opportunity, and to pick up a high-quality arm is the way to fix their one glaring weakness.