It remains rather difficult to find holes on the Chicago Cubs’ roster right now, though we know that baseball is cruel and fickle, which means those needs could become immediately apparent within the span of a few horrible hours. Indeed, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer has already said that the organization will constantly be looking at their roster to improve/protect, and Hoyer reiterated as much this week (CSN), after – for one example – Jason Hammel had to be pulled from his start against the Dodgers with what was ultimately revealed to be only a hamstring cramp.
To that end, even as the bullpen is very well-rested and performing at a high level, it should be no surprise to see Bruce Levine reporting that the Cubs are still looking for help in the bullpen as midseason approaches.
The Cubs have had the good fortune so far of not only a healthy bullpen, but one that has been been able to be used optimally because of consistently deep and effective starts by the starting rotation, and significant leads provided by the offense. But it’s not that hard to see issues popping up, both in specific ways (for example, Clayton Richard’s uneven performances or Hector Rondon’s back), and in general ways (relievers have a high variance in performance and if a few guys struggle at the same time and another gets hurt, you can quickly go from “all is great!” to “this is a nightmare!”).
Miller remains, to me, the most intriguing arm possibly on the market come July, as the Yankees are now three games under .500, and already 6.5 games out in the AL East. He’s not just a great lefty to add to a bullpen that might need another lefty – he’s an incredibly good reliever who just happens to pitch with his left hand. He’d also look mighty nice in a playoff bullpen, when the high-leverage innings become all the more critical.
With Levine mentioning Miller twice, I thought it worth putting back on your radar today. But I still feel the obligation to offer caution here: it’s only the first week of June, the Yankees might not sell (they especially might not sell a guy with 2.5 years of team control remaining), and the price tag on Miller would be steep. For more on Miller and the Cubs, you can read what I wrote last week, if you missed it.
We’ll continue to keep tabs on him, the Yankees, and the Cubs’ general approach to augmenting the roster this summer.