The Chicago Cubs tried to patch together their bullpen last season as the only significant free agent signings that the team made last winter to address the holes in their bullpen were the signings of Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger.
Both Fulmer and Boxberger struggled to start the season out of the Cubs' bullpen and while that led to the emergence of Adbert Alzolay as the team's closer, there were clear holes for the team regarding manager David Ross having the ability to turn to effective late-inning relievers.
The Cubs tried to address that need at the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline last season and one of the relievers that the team targeted was New York Mets' lefty Brooks Raley. Raley made his Major League debut with the Cubs in 2012 and throughout the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays and Mets, he has become one of the more surehanded left-handed relievers in all of Major League Baseball.
While the Mets were in the middle of a sell-off at the deadline, the team was in a position to have a high asking price for Raley considering the affordable $6.5MM club option for the 2024 season. For that reason, the Cubs and Mets were unable to come to terms on a trade, and on Friday, the Mets announced that they had indeed exercised the option.
If Raley were to reach the open market, he likely would command a deal worth far more than the $6.5MM that he will earn in 2024 with the Mets. For the Cubs, one thing can be for certain and that is that team is not going to spend large on a free-agent reliever. That is not the philosophy of Cubs' president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and it seems unlikely that he would move off that stance.