Chicago Cubs: Offseason targets to watch in World Series

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Chicago Cubs, Aaron Loup
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3. Aaron Loup

Another impending free agent reliever the Cubs could take a look at this winter is Aaron Loup.

After six seasons in the Toronto bullpen, Loup was traded to Philadelphia at the deadline in 2018 before signing as a free agent the next winter with the Padres. Loup’s tenure in San Diego didn’t last long. He suffered an elbow strain in early April 2019 after pitching in just four games for the Padres, and he never made it back to an MLB mound that season.

In February, Loup signed a one-year prove-it contract with Tampa Bay, and that’s exactly what he’s done. In 25 innings this year, Loup posted a 2.52 ERA and 3.83 FIP, proving that he can still be a valuable lefty piece out of the ‘pen.

Like Treinen, Loup also relies heavily on a sinker, but he has a much different approach.

Instead of blowing hitters away with high velocity, Loup succeeds with his control. In 2020, Loup walked just 4.2 percent of the batters he faced, nearly the best mark of his career.

Loup works to his arm side of the plate with his sinker and the glove side with a cutter. Combined, those two pitches make up just over 80 percent of his offerings, and he fills in the gaps with a curveball and changeup.

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Although Loup isn’t a back-of-the-bullpen, bat-missing reliever, he’d still be a great addition to a Cubs’ relief corps that’s sorely lacking in left-handed options.