The Dansby Swanson signing was, no question, a high point for the Chicago Cubs this offseason. The former World Series champion shortstop was introduced at Wrigley Field on Wednesday and it's clear he's focused on creating a winning culture and bringing a championship to the North Side.
If that's to be the case, Jed Hoyer still has a lot of work to do before Opening Day. Aside from a left-handed power bat and a catcher, Chicago could still stand to bolster the bullpen and recently designated left-hander Lucas Luetge could make for a perfect under-the-radar trade target.
After surprise DFA, Lucas Luetge could be a Cubs trade target
Luetge, 35, has been brilliant out of the Yankees bullpen the last two seasons, but was surprisingly designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for recently re-signed reliever Tommy Kahnle.
Since the start of the 2021 campaign, Luetge has made 107 appearances, finishing 31 contests, while working to a 2.92 FIP, 1.249 WHIP and 2.71 ERA. He could provide a much-needed boost out of the pen from the left side for the Cubs, who have just one southpaw reliever on the 40-man in Brandon Hughes.
Hughes was, in his own right, a pleasant surprise in 2022, making 57 appearances for manager David Ross and putting up a 3.12 ERA that, while impressive, far outpaced his 4.64 FIP on the year. In other words, it's irrefutable the Cubs need to add to their stable of left-handed relief arms.
Given his success over the last two years, Luetge could be a perfect pick-up who, given his age, won't break the bank. He's got experience pitching in a major market and could be a stabilizing presence in a bullpen that lacks proven, effective commodities - especially from the left side.