Chicago Cubs: 5 potential trades for a bullpen arm

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(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Drew Steckenrider is a valuable bullpen arm the Cubs could package a trade to a rebuilding Marlins team.

The Chicago Cubs could look to the southern part of the United States for bullpen assistance in the form of Miami Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider. He was drafted in the eighth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft and made his major league debut with the team on May 24, 2017.

Steckenridger, 28, is a guy that could use a change of scenery. In 2017 and 2018, he was getting hitters to make contact with the barrel of the bat just 6.3 and 6.5 percent, respectively. In 2019, he’s getting opposing batters to square him up 23.3 percent of at-bats. Prior to this year, Steckenrider featured secondary pitches that included a slider, cutter, and changeup.

In 2019, he is only throwing his fastball and slider. The Marlins hired Mel Stottlemyre, Jr. as their pitching coach in December, so this likely has something to do with the change in secondary pitches. Whatever the reason for the change, it is not working out. With just two pitches, batters have less to predict at the plate and his splits have shown that batters are hitting 60 percent flyballs off Steckenrider this season.

His fastball tops out near 95 mph and had much better success throwing it 76 percent of the time in 2018. He mixed up his slider, cutter, and changeup 4 percent, 16 percent, and 4 percent, respectively last season. He held opponents to a batting average of just 0.226 last season in 64.2 innings pitched. Steckenrider also has the added benefit of being under team control through 2023.

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So what do the Marlins need? They lack quality depth in the outfield with just Victor Victor Mesa in the Top 100 of MLB’s top prospects. They have Monte Harrison who shows some pop in his bat, but he also struck out 215 times in Double-A Jacksonville last season. They currently have Curtis Granderson manning left field, and the Cubs have Cole Roederer to offer.

Roederer has been compared to Andrew Benintendi and figures to outgrow his natural position of center field. He is projected to be ready by 2022 and could be part of a young nucleus of solid Marlins players.