Chicago Cubs: 3 cost-effective free agent relievers with huge upside

(Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images) /
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Juan Minaya / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It’s easy to get caught up in the Carlos Correa and Seiya Suzuki rumors. After all, we watched our beloved Chicago Cubs dismantle the core last summer and in terms of star power, well, suffice to say it’s lacking right now on the North Side.

But there are several other areas the team will need to be active in once the lockout lifts if they want to make a surprise run in 2022 – or even be remotely competitive. One of those areas is the bullpen, which was ravaged in the midseason sell-off last year.

Early in 2021, the Cubs bullpen ranked among the best in baseball and was a main contributor for the team’s early success. After the trade deadline… well, things didn’t go so well. Thankfully, there are several relievers on the cheap side that could still allow some big-ticket shopping on offense. Revamping the bullpen is a must. Let’s glance over three of those high upside, cost-effective relievers that can be had before the season starts.

Chicago Cubs: 3 low-cost free agent relievers to consider: #3 – Juan Minaya

After a career year from Juan Minaya, the Minnesota Twins surprisingly decided to non-tender him. Through the first four years of Minaya’s major league career, he played for the Chicago White Sox, where he pitched to the tune of a 3.93 ERA over 128 2/3 innings. Last season, Minaya found another level and put up even better numbers, recording a 2.48 ERA over 40 innings of work.

Surprisingly, Minaya has found more success at the major league level rather than the minor leagues. Last season, with Triple-A St. Paul, however, he did post a 3.41 ERA over 29 frames. In the Dominican Winter League this winter for the Gigantes del Cibao he has put up a 2.25 ERA over 12 innings, staying in good form and showing teams he still has plenty left in the tank entering his age-31 season.

We’ve already seen the Cubs pick up Wade Miley and Marcus Stroman. Rumors tying the Cubs to Correa show that the team is looking to get aggressive sooner rather than later. In other words, they’re not going to pursue the Correas and Stromans of the world and not address the bullpen, as well. To do that, though, you need to hit on some more budget-friendly names – and Minaya is just that.