Can’t win ’em all, right?
The Houston Astros have gone on an overnight reliever binge, reportedly agreeing to terms not only with Pat Neshek, but also Luke Gregerson, who gets three years and $18.5 million, plus $2.5 million in incentives.
Why am I mentioning the Gregerson signing?
blue jays, giants, red sox, rockies, cubs and white sox were all in on gregerson, a very consistent reliever for a long time
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 10, 2014
The Cubs’ involvement in the reliever market has been something of a mystery this offseason – at least relative to their obvious involvement in the starter market – with rumors about David Robertson and Andrew Miller coming and going without the Cubs appearing to give either a serious run. Gregerson was viewed by many as something akin to the best of the second tier of set-up relievers.
So, the news here is notable for its apparent confirmation that the Cubs are still interested in picking up another back-end reliever, despite their loaded bullpen. As we’ve discussed before, relievers are notoriously fickle, and, even as the Cubs appear to have so many quality arms ready to go in the pen right now, many are young. It takes only an injury or two and a bout of wildness or two to completely wreck a bullpen, and, in turn, wreck the early part of a season. With the Cubs looking even more serious about 2015, they can’t afford to let the bullpen be the downfall.
There remain some interesting, albeit probably lesser, arms on the market that the Cubs could pursue, or they could look to make a trade. Alternatively, the Cubs could simply aim to add a quality lefty in the pen, and then roll the dice on their many in-house options. Call me foolish, but I’d still like to see what Edwin Jackson could do as a one-inning power arm with his fastball playing up and without having to rely on a third pitch beyond his slider.