The latest update on Adbert Alzolay may be surprising for Cubs fans

Despite success in the closer's role during the 2023 season, Adbert Alzolay may not be the Chicago Cubs' closer to open the 2024 season.

Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

While the Chicago Cubs bullpen proved to be inconsistent during the 2023 season, a surprising takeaway from the season was the success that Adbert Alzolay had as the team's closer.

Alzolay's role in the Cubs' bullpen was not immediately defined at the start of the 2023 season and after inconsistency from Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer, Alzolay was the next option that former manager David Ross turned to.

Alzolay totaled 22 saves out of the Cubs' bullpen last season while posting an ERA of 2.67. A forearm strain led to some struggles for Alzolay during the final month of the season as he posted a 4.91 ERA in September.

It would seem that Alzolay has the inside track toward being the Cubs' closer to open the 2024 season but that does not appear to be a decision that has been made yet. While confirming that Alzolay certainly could remain in the closer's role, new Cubs' manager Craig Counsell stopped short of making that decision while speaking with reporters this past weekend.

"“We have to be open for a player to surprise us,” Counsell said. “We know we have some players that have been successful at the end of the game and they’re certainly going to be involved in it. The order we get those 27 outs is less important than getting those 27 outs.”"

Craig Counsell via The Athletic

Bullpen management will be one of the biggest differences that Cubs fans notice with how Counsell manages his pitching staff as opposed to Ross. Counsell is not afraid of using his high-leverage relievers if there are important outs needed in the sixth or seventh innings. What that means is that during the 2024 season, there will be innings where Counsell turns to Alzolay or Hector Neris in the middle innings if that is where the deciding moment of the game lies.

More Chicago Cubs News