3 early trade targets to bolster the Chicago Cubs bullpen

The Cubs could use more firepower in the bullpen, and they should keep these arms in mind during trade season
Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels
Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
1 of 3

The Chicago Cubs are performing generally well to start the year, with an overall record of 11-7 through their first 18 games. But with the offense scoring a lot of runs and the starting rotation doing as well as can be expected after two key injuries, the biggest weakness on the team has by far been the bullpen.

Julian Merryweather was just transferred to the 60-day IL while the other main set-up man Hector Neris has struggled out of the gate. Not to mention Adbert Alzolay hasn't been that sharp. After just three weeks, the Cubs' closer has already matched his 2023 marks in blown saves (3) and home runs allowed (3), meaning the Cubs may need to bring in somebody else for the ninth inning at some point this year. Here are six relievers the Cubs should keep their eye on before the trade deadline on July 30th.

1. Carlos Estevez - Los Angeles Angels

The 31-year-old Carlos Estevez has been the primary closer for the Los Angeles Angels since last year. Despite the team not being very good in 2023, Estevez was. Although his 3.90 ERA was a bit high for a closer, Estevez was still able to convert 31 of his 35 save opportunities while striking out 78 batters in 62.1 innings pitched. He's a big man standing at 6'6 with a big fastball topping out in the upper 90s.

Estevez certainly has his flaws though, as he also surrendered 31 walks and posted a hard-hit percentage of 44.3%. But if he continues his trend of collecting saves and staying out of too much trouble via walks and home runs, Estevez could be an intriguing add down the stretch. He would only be a rental as his contract expires at the end of the season so this deal wouldn't cost the Cubs too many players in return. With the Angels playing behind the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners, it's almost a certainty that they will be sellers at the trade deadline and Estevez is one of their most tradable assets.