If the Cubs want to win in 2023, they’ll need to assemble a quality bullpen mix.
Slowly but surely, the Chicago Cubs have started to clear up the roster for the start of next season. The rotation looks promising if the front office can add an extra big-time veteran, the lineup has plenty of players that will stick around, and the youth movement is looking good.
The only real question heading into the final month of this season is the bullpen beyond 2022. After, once again, trading the best relief arms they had, the Cubs are left with virtually nothing heading into 2023.
Now the goal becomes finding the best possible bullpen mix. There are three ways to do that: build from the minor leagues, sign free agents and trust some returning arms. With the veterans, their struggles this season make that a challenge. However, moving them into lower-leverage situations should build confidence, and putting better pieces around them will only make their jobs easier.
If I was in charge of building that bullpen, my first choice would be to look at the farm system and build the rotation out first. Assuming the rotation adds an ace, the Cubs can slide Adrian Sampson or Keegan Thompson back to the bullpen and have a very nice weapon to work with.