The Cubs Were Among Six Teams Scouting Lefty Zack Britton Today
The Chicago Cubs are definitely still out there scouring the free agent reliever market. No reason not to be.
Free agent lefty Zack Britton, a one-time stud reliever, is trying to work his way back this year, and he just threw for teams in Florida. Only six teams went to the bullpen session – which I think says a lot about how many teams’ budgets are all full up at this point in the calendar. But the Cubs were one of those teams:
Britton, 35, was an absolute monster of a reliever at his peak, generating groundball rates in the UPPER 70s(!), and routinely posting sub-2 ERAs.
The last few years, though, have seen him deal with a number of injury issues, including Tommy John surgery, and then a shoulder issue last year. In total, Britton has thrown just 38.0 innings since 2019, and the results have been mediocre (almost exactly league average ERA and FIP).
THAT SAID, given the extremity of his success earlier in his career, and given that there’s a chance that he’s finally healthy, I love the idea of taking a flier. Not only could it add another lefty to the Cubs’ bullpen (right now there’s just one relative lock in Brandon Hughes), but you’d suddenly have another guy with closing experience in the mix.
Moreover, it’s possible Britton’s situation means he won’t be able to get a guaranteed big league deal, and he has to settle for a minor league deal (with a good chance at making the big league team out of Spring Training). If the Cubs are concerned, post-Michael Fulmer, about pushing up too close to the luxury tax, a guy like Britton could be a solid play.
Well, assuming he’s not totally busted at this point, but I suppose that’s what today’s throwing session was all about. I’ll update if we hear back on how he looked.