Kintzler to the Marlins, the Cubs' Bullpen Approach for 2021, Eff the Astros, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Kintzler to the Marlins, the Cubs’ Bullpen Approach for 2021, Eff the Astros, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I think what bothers me most about scraping my car is that I never plan for it. Like, the act of scraping the ice is bad, yes. But the worst part for me is that it’s like, I’m ready to roll out, and then boom, shit, gotta scrape. I should anticipate it! I should bring gloves! I should leave five minutes earlier! But I just never do it. I guess I’m just never gonna develop that responsibility at this point.

  • As anticipated yesterday, a former Cubs reliever has indeed headed off to join the Marlins – instead of Pedro Strop, it’s Brandon Kintzler:

  • At a $3.25 million guarantee, Kintzler is a bargain for the Marlins, though it’s pretty clear that the rest of the market saw the risk in his non-traditional relief style (more contact, low walks, etc.) and wasn’t necessarily buying the spike in his strikeout rate (to league average) in 2019. At 35, there’s also always the risk of an injury seriously derailing things. Still, in a very, very thin market for relievers, you’d have thought he could have done better – and since he could not, it’s an indication that more and more teams are thinking like the Cubs are: get a whole bunch of younger, cheaper, unproven arms in the door, and see what you can shake loose.
  • I’ll admit, I really strongly dislike the financial component of how the Cubs are addressing the bullpen (i.e., there is no money to go after surer things even if the Cubs wanted to), but I do get pretty excited thinking about the innings they’re going to have available for guys they could massage into multi-year contributors. Even as the Cubs have gone with a “volume” approach before, it was never comprised of THIS MANY guys who come with huge questions but also huge stuff (or spin or velocity – basically, they all have at least one really good thing about them, but you have to work to turn the whole package into a contributor).
  • The challenges are many – you have to keep the guys healthy while you tweak, the tweaks have to get full buy-in, the tweaks have to actually consistently work, and then you’ve gotta figure out which guys are working as quickly as possible when the real action starts – but the upside is huge. In a dream scenario, by June, the Cubs have an extraordinarily deep group of relievers that are all clicking between MLB and AAA, and they have also built up an *overload* of quality options for 2021 and beyond. It’s like the literal one thing I can point to at this moment where I do see the Cubs potentially doing some things to the roster to improve for future years. You can’t know what you have in all these guys until you actually give them innings – so that’s part of what 2020 can be.
  • (Also, since the Cubs finally have some of their best minor league arms percolating up to the upper levels of the farm system this year, things could actually look all the more bright for the bullpen in 2021 and beyond.)
  • (Also also: bring back the bullpen dancing for homers.)
  • I don’t root for injuries, so I’m not gonna call this good news. Instead, it’s potentially significant news:

  • Urias, 22, was acquired as part of a large trade with the Padres, and was intended to be the Brewers’ primary shortstop this season in their mix-and-match infield. He’s always hit in the minors, but still needs to show it in the big leagues – and with a wrist issue, even if it doesn’t require surgery, you’re always going to wonder if the performance is compromised. That’s the thing about wrist injuries for hitters – it can leave you perfectly able to play, but sapping just enough power to ding your performance from where it would otherwise be. This is worth keeping an eye on.
  • Willson:

  • Good work, Justin:

  • It occurs to me that, after the sign-stealing cheating took center stage, we stopped talking about the mysterious and dramatic spikes in spin rate that pitchers see after joining the Astros. We should probably talk about that more now, not less. Just sayin’.
  • Do it. I don’t even care about the petty – it’s funny:

  • The Astros stole their signs, so the Dodgers stole their logo:

  • Actually this just means the Cubs were thrice-defending World Series champions:

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.