Position Five: Relief Pitcher
Players available (alphabetically):
This is an area that you’ll have to squint a little bit to get an idea of what I’m thinking. There’s really only one guy out of this list of three that intrigues me enough to want to spend more than about $6 million per year to bring him to the North Side and I’d imagine all of them will sign between $8-12 per year.
Josh Hader is obviously a monster. There’s nothing not to like about him and he would absolutely represent a dominant closer to add to this roster and make it evident to the rest of the league that the Cubs are legitimate players. That being said, this is not MLB: The Show and there are consequences to our actions. If the Cubs sign a big-money closer it will detrimentally impact Adbert Alzolay and while we’d see an improvement from the closer position (even the biggest homers among us need to be able to recognize that Hader is superior to Alzolay), we would have to pay a premium for a modest upgrade while also seeing a likely decline in Alzolay’s play I don’t think that investment would be worth it.
Jordan Hicks would be an interesting signing if for no other reason than to finally give the Cardinals a taste of their own medicine. Chicago could bring in a guy that Cardinals’ fans had as the closer of the future for years and have him pump 100-MPH fastballs by their hitters on their way to another division title. That being said, he’d likely be looking for $8-12 million dollars annually and I don’t trust his ability to keep it in the zone with consistency so I’d pass on him as well.
There are a lot of things working against this move. Noah Syndergaard is not a relief pitcher (right now). He’s still relatively highly regarded due to name value and that may come with a large price tag. On top of all of that, he’s been objectively bad. He’s not the guy that was supposed to be part of the Mets rotation of domination with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zach Wheeler, and Steven Matz. However, maybe he could be if he changed his role. If the Cubs looked into using him as a setup man leading into Alzolay and he was able to pitch an inning at a time perhaps the triple digits may appear on the radar gun again.
Decision: Let’s use the same mentality as last offseason and not spend heavily on the bullpen. No thank you to Josh Hader or Jordan Hicks, but let’s try to reclaim Noah Syndergaard on a one-year $8 million dollar contract and see what he can do.