The Cubs are clearly taking seriously their need to fill up the bullpen in the wake of injuries to Codi Heuer and Brad Wieck.
After adding Adrian Sampson, Daniel Norris, David Robertson, Steven Brault, and Robert Gsellman to their pitching staff in the last 24 hours (and don’t forget Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez), Jesse Rogers has them on a one-year deal with right-hander Mychal Givens, worth at least $5 million in 2022.
Cubs in agreement with reliever Mychal Givens, per source. 1-year deal worth $5 mil. Bonuses could get him to $6.25 mil. Was with Colorado and Cin last year.
Has closing experience. Could end up in the 9th inning. They need someone for that role.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) March 17, 2022
Specifically, Rogers has the deal has $3.5M this season, with a $1.5M buyout on a mutual option for next year.
This may be the most significant/sure-fire addition to the bullpen yet, as Givens could be expected to slot into a late-inning (or even closing) role early on. He does have some experience saving games. Givens can ramp it up to 95 MPH, and Statcast has his fastball spin rate in the 96th percentile. He’s also statistically elite at inducing weak contact, with a top-2% hard-hit rate and top-4% average exit velocity allowed. Last season that amounted to a 3.35 ERA over 51.0 IP.
He’s a fastball, changeup, slider guy that can help the Cubs out a lot this year.
I dig the Mychal Givens signing by the Cubs. He likely slots into the closer role after a solid 2021. Givens is a big spin (2500 rpm FB, 2600 rpm SL), but it was his changeup that gave hitters fits last season (.227 wOBA, .129 BA).https://t.co/6wwZ8BHwhT
— Greg Zumach (@IvyFutures) March 17, 2022
Why are the Cubs adding so much to their bullpen? Well, the injuries are one factor. The potentially weaker rotation is another. Their success in getting the most out of relievers is a third. But let me submit that relievers are among the easiest pieces to trade at the deadline, and they can often come cheap in the offseason.
If the Cubs find themselves out of the race entirely come July, they might just have a stockpile of trade chips to move and restock the system. Maybe a tough reality to face, but it’s a non-zero consideration on these one-year flyers for relievers. I’m sure of it.
But we don’t have to go there today. For now, the Cubs just added another good reliever to the mix. Someone that can step in and fill a late-inning role right away.