Cubs Rumors: Three bullpen targets in free agency

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images /
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Chicago Cubs
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images /

Chicago Cubs: Tyler Clippard still has something left in the tank

Tyler Clippard might be a somewhat forgotten name among baseball fans.

The 35-year-old made a pair of All-Star teams as a member of the Washington Nationals, but he bounced around with six different teams after leaving the Nats. Clippard eventually landed with the Cleveland Indians in 2019 before pitching for the Minnesota Twins this past season.

Clippard showed he is more than capable of throwing in leveraged situations. The veteran right-hander had a 2.90 ERA in 62 innings with the Indians, and this past season had a 2.77 ERA and 2.65 FIP for the Twins.

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The most encouraging part of Clippard’s recent run is a decline in walk rate, which fell to 1.4 per nine innings in 2020. He also induces soft contact.

Clippard ranked in the 92nd percentile in hard-hit rate, per Baseball Savant, and he also struck out 9.0 per nine innings for the second consecutive year.

What Clippard lacks in velocity he makes up for with a five-pitch arsenal that includes an excellent split-finger fastball. The use of his splitter and changeup also keeps hitters off-balance against the four-seamer, much like Kyle Hendricks does for the Cubs.

The Twins could look to re-sign Clippard, and they are armed with payroll flexibility. But he is unlikely to command more than a one- or two-year deal, which should give the Cubs a window.