The Chicago Cubs are addressing a major need in their bullpen as the team is acquiring right-handed relief pitcher Yency Almonte from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Prior to the trade, Almonte and the Dodgers reached a deal worth $1.9MM for the 2024 season to avoid arbitration.
What has become a focal point for the Cubs this off-season is stabilizing the bullpen. While the Cubs feel comfortable with Adbet Alzolay, Mark Leiter Jr, and Julian Merryweather at the tail-end of their bullpen, the team had a need for middle relief pitchers.
Last week, Cubs' pitching coach Tommy Hottovy talked about the need that the Cubs had for middle reliefs as a way to not depend on the three pitchers at the backend to routinely bridge the gap from when the starting pitcher departed to the end of the game.
Almonte certainly will address that need. Almonte struggled to the tune of a 5.06 ERA in 49 appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season but his xERA of 4.27 would suggest that there was some bad luck mixed in with his results. With the Dodgers in 2022, Almonte posted a 1.02 ERA in 35.1 innings.
Almonte also features a mid-to-upper 90s fastball and it's possible the Cubs see a similar profile to what they saw last season when they took a chance on Merryweather. With a plus fastball, Merryweather posted a 3.38 ERA in 72 innings pitched with a career-high strikeout percentage of 32.3%.
No word yet on what the Cubs are sending the Dodgers but on the day that players and teams are looking to avoid arbitration, it could be a player that the Cubs were unable to come to terms with.