Chicago Cubs have internal bullpen options to consider after quiet trade deadline

The Chicago Cubs failed to add any left-handed relief help at the trade deadline and their only option left for reinforcements now is the farm. Fortunately, there's no shortage of interesting arms that deserve looks down the stretch.
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After adding Jeimer Candelario on Monday and DFAing Trey Mancini on Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs showed they're ready to make a push down the stretch. The trade deadline has come and gone with the team considerably improved on offense, finally filling a corner infield hole that has plagued them all year.

One need that they failed to address, however, was that of a lefty reliever. The team was rumored to be in on Brooks Raley and Andrew Chafin specifically, but the former wasn't traded at all and the latter ended up in Milwaukee. Other arms, like Aaron Bummer, Brad Hand, and Wandy Peralta weren't in the cards for the Northsiders either. Their only additions to their relief depth were Jose Cuas in a trade for Nelson Velazquez and Josh Roberson for Manuel Rodriguez and Adrian Sampson. Not bad, but far from what was hoped with names like Raley and even David Bednar being floated.

In order to improve in the bullpen now, the Cubs' only option left is to look internally for arms that could make the jump up. We've been discussing for a while how many intriguing pitchers they have that could warrant looks down the stretch and it's likely that the depth also played a factor in how the team acted at the deadline. There's a mix of prospects with nasty stuff and veterans with experience to pull from if they begin to feel the pressure.

In terms of prospects, the big names to watch now are going to be lefties like Bailey Horn, Riley Martin, and Luke Little who all have the potential to sate that need for a shutdown southpaw. Horn, for his part, is coming off a very strong July where he gave up only 3 runs across 11 1/3 innings. He would be the likeliest of the three for the Cubs to get a look at, though Martin and Little give a lot to dream on too. Martin, despite a lackluster 5.56 ERA, boasts an excellent 70-grade slider and strong strikeout numbers while Little has been lighting up the radar gun while dominating Double-A hitters with a 3.23 ERA and 16.04 K/9.

Although he doesn't address the need for a southpaw, Ben Brown is almost certainly on the radar as well. One of the top prospects in the Cubs' system, Brown would add more swing-and-miss to this bullpen that is still sorely needed. He sports a 4.85 ERA but continues to strike out batters at a ludicrous rate of 12.46 per nine innings. Control is definitely a bit of a concern, but the stuff is certainly enticing in a relief role.

Within the organization are a few veterans available for depth too. Back in June, the Cubs brought in righty Shane Greene on a minor league deal and they already had the likes of Tyler Duffey hanging around in the system. They're admittedly not nearly as exciting to think about as Little, Martin, Horn, or Brown, but both have enjoyed fairly recent success and could contribute.

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For now, the bullpen core of Adbert Alzolay, Mark Leiter Jr., Julian Merryweather, and Michael Fulmer is holding firm while Daniel Palencia and Javier Assad perform well in their respective roles. As a group though, they're still in the middle of the pack with a 3.93 ERA. With so many arms in the farm capable of adding more of that swing-and-miss factor, it'd make the most sense down the stretch to explore their internal options for someone that can spell their back four and become a fixture going forward.