The Cubs have plenty of problems. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. While the bullpen seems like a somewhat less pressing issue, apparently that’s not the case.
Up to this point in the offseason, Chicago has parted ways with more talent than they have brought in. On Sunday, Jon Lester signed with the Washington Nationals for one-year, $5 million. So add him to the list of players not coming back to Chicago. There is one name who the Cubs are reportedly trying to re-sign: Jeremy Jeffress.
I was a bit surprised when I first saw this. The Cubs are rarely linked to any notable free agents, and now they want to re-sign one of the most sought-after relievers on the market?
Jeremy Jeffress was a bright spot for the Cubs in 2020.
- 2018: (73 games) 1.29 ERA 3.30 K/BB 0.991 WHIP (All-Star)
- 2019: (48 games) 5.02 ERA 2.71 K/BB 1.365 WHIP
- 2020: (22 games) 1.54 ERA 1.43 K/BB 0.943 WHIP
The Cubs brought Jeffress in last season on a one-year, $850K (non-prorated) deal. I think it’s safe to say he’s earned a significant pay raise for 2021.
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It’s unclear how much Jeffress is asking for but we can compare it to some recent reliever signings. Archie Bradley signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Phillies last week.
The pair has similar career numbers, though Jeffress (33) is about five years older than Bradley. For that reason, I think it’s safe to say Jeffress will be looking for around $3-$5 million per year.
It might not seem like much money in baseball terms, but for the Cubs, it is. After all, they reportedly didn’t come anywhere near the Nats’ offer of $5 million for Lester.
Jed Hoyer and the team recently brought in pitcher Shelby Miller on a non-guaranteed $850K deal. These types of reclamation projects are what this organization might be after for the remainder of the offseason.
It’s sad to say, considering the Cubs won their division last season. You would think the team is a few moves away from being competitive in a weak NL Central, but clearly, the organization feels otherwise.
I think the Cubs would benefit from bringing back Jeffress. A few weeks ago, I believed the team was one or two relievers away from having one of the best bullpens in the league.
As of today, I still believe that to be the case, but the Cubs are going in a different direction.