Chicago Cubs Free Agency: Top players to go after

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Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Thornton — Relief Pitcher

Yes, I think the bullpen is a priority. They were in the bottom ten in blown saves, and in a lot of games, they were very shaky. They did improve as I said, later in the season, but you cannot count on having that happen again.

While I expect the Cubs to sign a couple of their free agents (Jason Motte and Clayton Richard), that leaves a few more to be signed.

One of them could be Matt Thornton.

While many of the Washington Nationals under-achieved this season, Thornton did well coming out of the bullpen. In 41-and-1/3 innings, he had a 2.18 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He also keeps the ball in the park, recording a 0.4 home runs per nine innings ratio (he allowed just 2 home runs all season).

Thornton can shore up the middle relief spot. He can go an inning or two if some of the starters struggle. He would have been a great asset on this year’s team when Kyle Hendricks, Jason Hammel and the list of fifth starters could not go deep.

Thornton adds experience to any bullpen. He has over 700 appearances in his 12-year career.

He was tough down the stretch this season. While the team was imploding down the stretch, Thornton did exceptionally well. In his last 20 appearances, he posted a 0.66 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.

Adding Thornton to the mix would strengthen the Cubs’ bullpen. He has the experience to go through the ups and downs of the regular season, and would be a great asset.

Next: Get a player to man the middle of the outfield