3 candidates to replace Yency Almonte in the Cubs bullpen

Yency Almonte may find himself out of a job soon, and here are three pitchers who can step in
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs have an obvious weak link in their bullpen in right-hander Yency Almonte, who has struggled in the team's first two series.

It's not time to hit the eject button on Almonte quite yet, but things are trending in that direction. The Cubs acquired the 29-year-old alongside first baseman Michael Busch on January 12 and he was supposed to be the other major addition to the bullpen with set-up man Hector Neris. But Almonte has struggled mightily out of the gate, with four earned runs in 2.0 innings pitched and three walks.

Almonte's leash should be fairly short for a couple of reasons. For one, he wasn't that good last year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over 49 appearances, Almonte posted a ballooned ERA of 5.06 and he walked 24 batters in 48 innings pitched. With the Cubs looking to compete for the division and make the playoffs, that kind of production just isn't going to cut it.

There is also a time limit on Almonte's roster status. According to Cubs' prospect insider Arizona Phil, Almonte has no minor league options left and the team has until April 26 to outright him off the active roster without his consent. If he continues to perform poorly, the decision should be easy for the Cubs' front office. Who they choose to replace Almonte is a bit trickier, but here are three candidates.

1. RHP Colten Brewer

The Cubs took a flier on Colten Brewer in January when they signed the 31-year-old to a minor league deal. I wouldn't say Brewer has had an illustrious career, as his best season was with the Boston Red Sox in 2019. In 54.2 innings pitches, Brewer was a solid reliever with a 4.12 ERA and an ERA+ of 118. But that was five years ago at this point and Brewer has never come close to replicating that kind of production at the big league level.

But the Cubs have turned careers around before and it happened as recently as last season with Julian Merryweather and Mark Leiter Jr. His three appearances with the Yankees in 2023 are not an encouraging sample size, but Brewer did have a solid Spring Training this year with a 1.29 ERA in seven innings. It's early enough in the season that the Cubs can afford to see if Brewer has any gas left in the tank. It would be really neat to have three of your relievers be successful reclamation projects so I say give Brewer a shot.