Chicago Cubs: Offseason priorities, constructing the perfect bullpen

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs, David Ross
(Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images) /

So what might David Ross’ bullpen look like in 2020?

I expect the Cubs to be proactive this offseason to avoid another 28 blown saves in 2020. Blown saves happen to every team but not at this excessive rate. It played a major role in why the Cubs missed the postseason in 2019. Under Joe Maddon, as well as across the league, the bullpen typically consists of seven arms. Often that number will increase to eight but at the expense of the team’s bench depth.

So let’s start with the easiest. Craig Kimbrel is obviously the closer next season. He’s not being paid all that money to serve a lesser role. I expect a bounce-back year from him with a full offseason to prepare. Pedro Strop wants to return next season and the 34-year-old more than proved he still has a lot left in the tank with his dominant September. It will ultimately come down to the cost but I am confident that Theo Epstein will get it done.

I have the Cubs making a splash in the free-agent market, signing Will Smith. He’s going to command a lot of money, but he has been dominant and the Cubs need another lefty in the bullpen. Rowan Wick will see a larger role in 2020, as will Kyle Ryan. I expect that the Cubs will ask around for regarding a few available arms via trade and they will land Matt Andriese. And then I have David Phelps rounding out the bullpen with Tyler Chatwood being moved in a trade this offseason.

  1. Craig Kimbrel (RHP)
  2. Pedro Strop (RHP)
  3. Will Smith (LHP)
  4. Rowan Wick (RHP)
  5. Kyle Ryan (LHP)
  6. Matt Andriese (RHP)
  7. David Phelps (RHP)

dark. Next. Theo Epstein risks it all with David Ross hire

On paper, that bullpen looks really good. Obviously, injuries are going to happen but that’s where some of the internal candidates previously mentioned can have the opportunity to step up.