The Chicago Cubs Are Still Expected to Add One More Veteran Reliever in Free Agency

With pitchers and catchers set to report to Spring Training in under two weeks, time is running out to get players under contract if you want them to have a completely full and completely normal spring.

It’s not unusual to see guys still unsigned in February, mind you, and signing a player late does afford you some more wiggle room on the 40-man roster (you could wait to “officially” add them until you’ve transferred a player to the 60-day IL, for example, so you don’t have to DFA someone else and risk losing them). But still. Clock is ticking.

Something figures to happen soon-ish for the Cubs.

From Patrick Mooney:

It would be a surprise if the Cubs didn’t add another experienced reliever before their first formal workout for pitchers and catchers Feb. 15 in Arizona. President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer and manager David Ross both agree that the bullpen is an area where it’s particularly important to have veteran players setting an example for younger pitchers. While most of the free-agent market has already been picked over, there are still solid relievers out there looking for jobs.

That’s been our expectation, both because it’s how the Cubs have historically operated in this end-of-offseason phase, and also because Hoyer was pretty darn clear at the Convention that the Cubs were still working on some things that included the bullpen.

The sheer volume of quality arms still out there – Andrew Chafin, Matt Moore, Zack Britton, Brad Hand, Will Smith, and Michael Fulmer are the biggest names – suggests the Cubs are going to be able to land someone, and probably at a reasonable price. Sorry to the arms who’d held out, understandably, after the market was signaling early in the offseason that it was about to spike again.

The Cubs have sufficient credibility in this area that I won’t even necessarily say that they MUST get this specific guy or that specific guy. But I will say that Chafin has been so consistently good and is so much fun. Moore was such a huge breakout last year upon his relief conversion and pitch-mix change that he looks really compelling. And seeing if you can get Britton healthy and back to the extreme groundball guy he is would be interesting.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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