Chicago Cubs News: The impact of left-handed relief acquisitions

To bolster the bullpen, the Chicago Cubs acquired two lefties, Andrew Chafin and Josh Osich, at the 2020 trade deadline.

Going into the 2020 trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs had two glaring needs that needed to be addressed: acquiring a big bat outfielder and adding on competent relievers, preferably lefties. The North Siders started the weekend leading up to Monday’s August 31 deadline by trading for Jose Martinez from the Tampa Bay Rays and signing A.J. Ramos after he was recently granted his release from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yes, these acquisitions addressed the Cubs’ needs to a degree, but that didn’t stop them from reaching even further. On Monday before the 4 pm ET deadline, the Cubs picked up right-handed bat Cameron Maybin from the Detroit Tigers.

They also added a pair of left-handed relievers: Andrew Chafin from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Josh Osich from the Boston Red Sox. This flurry of moves made within those few days made a statement and gave the Cubs enough oomph, especially to the bullpen, for the team to pursue their first division title since 2017.

Trading for the two lefties, Andrew Chafin and Josh Osich will have advantages of their own for the north side of Chicago. For starters, the best-case scenario is that both can provide some much-needed assistance late in games versus lefty bats, and both did not come at a high cost in the slightest.

It should be noted that while Osich will probably make his Cubs’ debut very shortly, Chafin is currently on the Injured List with a finger issue but is said to be set to make his return in a couple of weeks. Chafin was a past pivotal piece of the Diamondbacks bullpen and owns a career 3.68 ERA.

However, during his time pitching playing in the abbreviated 2020 season, Chafin has an 8.10 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings pitched. Since these numbers can be attributed to his injury, he should come back and make significant improvements.

Even with the injury, Chafin has still been quite good against left-handed batters. And considering how often the Cubs have to face the likes of lefties, including Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers as well as Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, this is a big deal and will be beneficial in the home stretch and beyond into the postseason (hopefully).

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Josh Osich, 31 has a 5.74 ERA with 20 strikeouts across 15 2/3 innings pitched. It should be noted that the 31-year old southpaw is under contract for two more years. Similar to his new teammate Chafin, Osich has done a great job dominating left-handed batters, and it will be great to see how he fares against the big-name lefties as well.

The hope is that both Chafin and Osich end up playing how they are expected to and can bolster the bullpen enough to help the team to continue contending throughout the remainder of the regular season and beyond.