3 areas the Chicago Cubs need to address via a big-time trade
3 areas the Chicago Cubs need to address via a big-time trade: #1 - Acquire a lockdown closer to slam the door in the ninth
In 2016, Aroldis Chapman was acquired via trade and dominated in a Cubs uniform. Recording a 1.01 ERA, he was a big reason why Chicago wound up being so successful that season. Now, they need to re-solidify their bullpen. Acquire someone who can shut the door in a one-run game on the road. Michael Fulmer recorded 14 saves in 2021. Brad Boxberger, the Cubs' other key addition to the bullpen this past winter, is more of a setup guy and always has been.
Let's look back at the Cubs' dominant years in 2015-2018, as opposed to the last three seasons of 2021-present. These ranks are for bullpens only among the 15 National League teams:
- 2015: 4th-best bullpen ERA
- 2016: 4th-best bullpen ERA
- 2017: 3rd-best bullpen ERA
- 2018: 1st-best bullpen ERA
- 2021: 9th-best bullpen ERA
- 2022: 9th-best bullpen ERA
- 2023: 8th-best bullpen ERA
That's a significant enough drop-off that it has contributed to losing ballgames in the past few years. Aside from loading up the starting rotation and offense, the bullpen is the third piece of the puzzle that needs to be assembled. Acquiring a legitimate back-end bullpen guy is critical, and quite a few solid pieces should be available at the trade deadline.