3 positions the Chicago Cubs need to significantly upgrade soon

The Chicago Cubs have several positions that need to be upgraded as soon as possible.
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The Chicago Cubs are going through an extremely frustrating stretch of baseball right now, where their lack of high-end talent has been more apparent than ever. If the team is truly serious about competing and making the playoffs, they need to start targeting high-end players to carry their current roster.

Whether it be through trades at the deadline this year or free agent signing this upcoming offseason, these are three positions the Cubs need to upgrade in the near future.

1. Closer

Going into the 2024 season, it was assumed that Adbert Alzolay would resume his role as the closer. After Alzolay converted 22 saves in 25 opportunities with a 2.67 ERA last year, it was a no-brainer to keep him where he was given how comfortable he looked in the ninth inning. But as the 2024 season, it was clear Alzolay didn't have the same magic as before.

By the beginning of May, the 29-year-old already matched his blown saves and home runs allowed marks from 2023, which were 3 and 5 respectively. What may have contributed to this poor performance was an underlying forearm issue that sent Alzolay to the injured list on May 13th. After getting a second opinion, Alzolay was shut down from all throwing activity, and aside from being transferred to the 60-day IL on June 2nd, there hasn't been an update on his status.

What made matters worse was Julian Merryweather also hit the injured list at the beginning of April, followed soon after by Yency Almonte. These injuries have contributed to the Cubs are second-worst in blown saves this year with 17. This lack of ability in the ninth inning has been a serious issue for the Cubs. If just half of those save opportunities were converted, Chicago would have the same amount of wins as the Milwaukee Brewers at the time of this writing.

The Cubs can only assume that Alzolay will be out for the rest of the season. And given his injury history, Alzolay cannot be relied on to be the closer in 2025. Merryweather is a similar story, with 2023 being the only year where he played a full season in Major League Baseball. This means the Cubs either need to sign a closer in free agency or trade for one because there isn't a clear answer waiting to get called up in the minor leagues.

Miami Marlins closer Tanner Scott is the most logical name for Chicago. He is the youngest (29) and hardest-throwing relief pitcher with closing experience hitting free agency this winter. The southpaw averages 96.6 mph on his four-seam fastball and he is currently sporting a 1.64 ERA with nine saves on the year. While other closers have many more saves than Scott, that's mostly because Miami has not given him many chances to convert saves with their 27-50 record this year. If the Cubs are serious about contending, signing Scott would make a whole lot of sense.

Other closers hitting the market that could fill the need include Kenley Jansen, Kirby Yates and Clay Holmes.