The Needs in the Cubs' Bullpen, Happy with Hamels, and Other Bullets

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The Needs in the Cubs’ Bullpen, Happy with Hamels, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The kiddos and I are gonna see some WILD animals up close today, and I think that means I get to ride a cheetah. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Sahadev Sharma took a deep look at the bullpen picture for the Cubs, the good and the needy:

  • There are a lot of *potentially* quality arms in the bullpen for the Cubs, but the volume of question marks is almost overwhelming. You feel good about Pedro Strop, even as he turns 34 next year, but beyond that, you’ve got a dominant but always injured Brandon Morrow, a wildly talented but also just wild Carl Edwards Jr., a fantastic but so heavily worked Steve Cishek, a previously solid but recently terrible Brandon Kintzler, and then a group of guys who are somehow even more questionable. Luxury tax considerations or not, this is a unit that needs a significant addition this offseason. If it’s a matter of retaining both Jesse Chavez and Jorge De La Rosa on reasonable deals, I’m on board with that, but of course, even that comes with risk given their age and up-and-down performance in recent years.
  • The Cubs may need to get creative on the trade front if they want to try to bolster the bullpen while simultaneously saving money, but in reality, the reliever pool in free agency is so very deep this year that there absolutely will be quality, cost-effective deals to be had. I’m not convinced the Cubs need to go all out in the top tier of the reliever group, but I think eschewing free agency entirely in a reliever class like this would be a mistake.
  • The bullpen did get an assist in the form of added depth being pushed in that direction, though, thanks to retaining Cole Hamels (example: Mike Montgomery goes back into the bullpen).
  • The Cubs were happy to welcome him back:

  • Setting aside all the financial considerations for a moment, I’m just really glad we’ll get to see a full year of Hamels on a competitive team, with his mechanical adjustment in place. I’m not saying he’s likely to be “second-half Hamels” all year in 2019, but I do think, even at age 35, he can be a productive starter, and clearly the Cubs’ deep dive on him concurred. Committing $20 million to a starting pitcher when you’ve already got six other starters under contract/team control, four of whom are front three types … yeah, clearly the Cubs really believe in Hamels after getting close with him last year. We shouldn’t sleep on that part, nor on the fact that this is a really accomplished veteran who can probably mean a lot to the pitchers and catchers he interacts with next year.
  • Are we happy? Yes:

  • Some crazy baseball action if you’re hard up:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.