The Chicago Cubs lack quality depth within their bullpen, especially after the injury to Mike Montgomery. Can they acquire a solid bullpen arm via trade?
The Chicago Cubs did very little to improve their bullpen this past offseason with the only notable signing being former Baltimore Oriole, Brad Brach, who was signed to a one-year deal worth $3 million. The team was also banking on the return of closer Brandon Morrow, who was eventually shut down last season with a bone bruise in his throwing arm.
He had been rehabbing to get back, but has been shut down yet again indicating he is having similar issues as last season. The Cubs should go forward as if they are not getting Morrow back this season. If he returns healthy and produces, great, but his injury history gives me little confidence that he will pitch this season.
So who’s left in the bullpen? The Cubs still have Pedro Strop, who has taken over the closer role for the time being. I mentioned several potential closer options that the Cubs could pursue, but the first option on that list walked the bases loaded against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. I think the Cubs could do fine with Strop as their closer in 2019. I like him as a set-up personally, but it is what it is at this point.
Behind him is where it starts to become unclear. The team has relied heavily on Steve Cishek, Brach, and Brandon Kintzler who have all had mixed results. Kyle Ryan has been a surprise in the bullpen, but guys like Dillon Maples, Randy Rosario, Allen Webster, Carl Edwards, Jr., Tyler Chatwood and Tim Collins cannot be relied on.
The Cubs being in contention this year will bank on the success of this bullpen. They figure to be in the hunt around the tread deadline, so they will likely need to add a solid bullpen arm or two. The team will get Mike Montgomery back at some point, as he has recently begun a rehab stint with the Triple-A squad. You like to think he’ll return with no lingering issues, but there are no guarantees.
As previously mentioned, the front office chose not to address this issue in the offseason and will now have to give up resources to acquire the services for someone who can help them down the stretch.
Here are five potential trades that could work.