Finding quality left-handed relief pitching was in issue for the Chicago Cubs last season, to say the least.
An early injury to Brad Wieck beset first-year Cubs manager David Ross with difficulties in establishing the circle of trust.
Rex Brothers made just three appearances, with the last coming on Sept. 19. Kyle Ryan struggled after a strong 2019, posting a 5.17 ERA and ugly 7.08 FIP.
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Chicago tried to rectify its lefty problem by acquiring Josh Osich and Andrew Chafin at the deadline. But Osich gave up six runs (three earned) in 2 2/3 innings of work, while Chafin – who otherwise might have been a workhorse – was still dealing with injuries.
The Cubs signed Adam Morgan to a minor league deal as a depth add, but they will need more pieces. Here are three free agent lefties Jed Hoyer and the front office should consider.
Cubs: Why not bring back Chafin?
At the very least, it could be worth an effort to re-sign Chafin to see what he can do over a more extended run.
The 30-year-old struggled during the early part of 2020 with the Arizona Diamondbacks mostly due to a rise in homer and walk rates. But his peripherals are excellent.
Chafin has a 3.23 career FIP and 9.5 career K/9. He typically limits the long ball, last year notwithstanding, and his sinker-slider combination is excellent. Chafin does not throw exceptionally hard, yet still ranked in the 89th percentile or higher in whiff rate in each of the past two years, per Baseball Savant.
Chicago needs a guy who can generate more swings and misses in the middle innings. Chafin’s track record suggests he can be that guy, and the Cubs could place their faith in him being the pitcher he was prior to an injury-riddled 2020.