The Cubs are at risk for being without (either on the Injured List or lacking peak effectiveness) upwards of four presumed members of their bullpen back when camp opened up: Brandon Morrow, Pedro Strop, Brad Brach, and Xavier Cedeño.
It seems reasonable to be concerned about the bullpen, and to wonder if the Cubs are going to scramble a bit to address the holes that may be developing before their eyes.
The best reliever on the market this offseason is still on the market, and the Cubs have an ever-growing need in the bullpen for impact, reliable arms … but they are not going to be going after Craig Kimbrel.
Joe Maddon said the Cubs are considering deals and waiver moves for the bullpen.He said Craig Kimbrel”s name did not come up in his meetings.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) March 13, 2019
Now, you could (correctly) point out that Joe Maddon wouldn’t give it up completely if the Cubs were trying to get a steal of a deal on Kimbrel, but given what we know about the Cubs’ tight budget – “we don’t have any more” money – I think it’s fair to assume Maddon is just being honest in this case.
Although I’m glad the Cubs are still considering making additions from guys who’ll no doubt soon become available, I can’t help but think about the fact that the types that are going to be available via waivers are the types the Cubs already have a boatload of – good upside if everything clicks, but noted flaws.
I guess we’ll see what happens on the transaction front, and on the injury recovery front. There were reasons to be concerned about the bullpen long before this rash of injuries, so I can’t think anyone in the front office is feeling like it’s a waste of time to consider options.
INSTANT UPDATE: As soon as I publish, an additional chunk of the Joe Maddon quote at least leaves Kimbrel on the table, even if it’s extremely unlikely:
Maddon said he and brass discussed possible waiver or trade moves this week. Asked if Kimbrel would be out of the question: “We really didn’t discuss that, but I can’t tell you that it’s out of the question.”
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 13, 2019
Maddon said there have been internal meetings about possible bullpen alternatives via waivers/trades. Said free-agent Craig Kimbrel's name has not come up: "We really didn't discuss that. But, I can't tell you that it's out of the question."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 13, 2019
You’re saying there’s a chance dot gif.