The Chicago Cubs are looking to add bullpen depth this offseason and may focus on signing a big name left-handed relief pitcher.
With the offseason in full swing, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and company are looking to add depth to the Chicago Cubs‘ bullpen, especially from the left side.
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Heading into the 2019 season, the top four Cubs’ relievers will all be righties – Brandon Morrow, Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek, and Carl Edwards Jr. That’s a huge problem, especially in today’s game where playing the matchup is of the utmost importance.
The Cubs already had a lack of lefty relievers last season, especially after Mike Montgomery was forced into the starting rotation after the nightmares that were Yu Darvish‘s and Tyler Chatwood‘s 2018 campaigns.
That essentially left Justin Wilson as the only viable lefty reliever in the bullpen. Randy Rosario and Brian Duensing were available too, but they couldn’t be trusted in high leverage situations the way Wilson or Montgomery could.
The lack of quality lefty options meant the Cubs had to look for help. The team brought in Jorge De La Rosa in mid-August to shore things up, and his 1.29 ERA in 17 appearances with the Cubs was a huge help down the stretch.
With Wilson and De La Rosa now free agents, the Cubs left-handed reliever list is looking pretty slim. Montgomery will at least start the season in the bullpen, joining Duensing, Rosario, and Jerry Vasto as the club’s only currently rostered southpaw relievers.
At the General Manager meetings, Hoyer talked about the team’s need to add bullpen depth this offseason:
"Adding bullpen depth is a priority. Certainly adding from the (left side) is ideal. I am more focused on good relievers. The key is not just having a good pen all year. You need that bullpen fresh down the stretch. Part of that is having depth and not overusing guys. We have a strong rotation. Our bullpen performed exceptionally well last year, but we have to add more depth to make sure we get to the end of the season."
The Cubs are openly looking to bolster the bullpen, and it quite clearly needs the help from the left side. With those things in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the North Siders strongly pursue the two best left-handed relievers available this winter.