The Chicago Cubs are regretting not signing this reliever in the offseason

Arizona Diamondbacks v Oakland Athletics
Arizona Diamondbacks v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

In recent seasons, the Chicago Cubs have made good practice at signing veteran relievers and turning them into effective late-inning options. It was a model that allowed the Cubs to turn veteran closer David Robertson into top pitching prospect Ben Brown last season at the Major League Baseball trade deadline.

This offseason, the intention was different for the Cubs. The Cubs were in the market for a veteran reliever, but this time, the team did not have the intention of flipping the reliever at the deadline. Rather, the veteran reliever would hopefully assist in the Cubs' goal of contending in the 2023 season.

The two veteran relievers that the Cubs turned to were Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer. Both signings have been a disaster for the Cubs.

Boxberger, currently on the IL, has posted a 5.52 ERA in 17 appearances this season. Boxberger's xFIP, 5.21, would confirm that he has been every bit as bad as his ERA would indicate.

The results haven't been better for Fulmer. Fulmer, who began the season as the Cubs' de facto closer, has posted a 7.50 ERA in 20 appearances. Fulmer's xFIP, 3.91, would indicate that he has been the victim of some bad luck this season but hitters are squaring him up more often this season as his barrel rate of 9.8% is the highest mark of his career.

There is no other way to say it other than the Cubs identified the wrong veteran relievers this offseason.

The reliever that the Cubs should have signed this offseason was left-handed veteran Andrew Chafin. Chafin, who emerged as a fan favorite during his stint with the Cubs from 2020-2021, has posted a 3.78 ERA with the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. Chafin's xFIP, 2.14, suggests that he has been much better than his ERA would indicate and far better than either Boxberger or Fulmer.

Perhaps, the faults of the Cubs' bullpen shouldn't fall entirely on manager David Ross if the front office was better in their search for relief help this past winter.

More Chicago Cubs News