Upon losing Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera at the deadline, there has been a gaping hole in the back of the Chicago Cubs bullpen to say the least. Right now the toughest thing about replacing Kimbrel isn’t finding the right guy, it’s about the Cubs’ limited save opportunities in general. In fact, since the All-Star break, the Cubs have only had three save opportunities. When you’re setting franchise record losing streaks, they’re few and far between.
The best way to break down who could be most deserving is simply by looking at players’ numbers, specifically since losing the big three in the back end of the bullpen. The Cubs’ bullpen hasn’t been all that bad, but again, in order to record saves you have to be playing with the lead, something the Cubs have not been able to do all that often recently.
Even though good appearances by certain relievers have not translated to wins in the 2nd half, it’s important to identify who to keep and who to cut after the season. Clearly, 2021 is a losing season for the Cubs but that doesn’t mean there’s nobody important on the team moving forward. It’s time to take a glance at who has been rolling in the bullpen and identify who is most deserving at a shot at becoming the closer moving forward.