Chicago Cubs add yet another reliever in Mychal Givens

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

When Chicago Cubs President of Baseball of Operations Jed Hoyer said the organization plans on adding pitching and pitching depth, he wasn’t kidding. The organization added yet another bullpen arm in right-hander Mychal Givens on Thursday.

Givens was split between Colorado and Cincinnati last season, posting very good numbers with the Rockies before being traded. The 31-year-old spun a 2.73 ERA with a 10.3 K/9 in 29.2 innings of work while primarily pitching in the seventh and eighth innings. His numbers weren’t as good with the Reds.

Givens is one of the more notable signings the Cubs have had this offseason, given (no pun intended) he has closing experience. The northsiders lacked a back end of the bullpen kind of guy, and Givens has some experience in that department. He collected eight saves with the Reds last year, and a career-best 11 saves back in 2019 when he was with the Baltimore Orioles.

Per Statcast, Givens is a pitcher who induces a lot of weak contact, sitting in the 96th percentile for average exit velocity and 98th percentile for hard-hit rate. He’s also in the 96th percentile for fastball spin rate.

With the addition of Mychal Givens, the Chicago Cubs bullpen is suddenly crowded.

The Cubs have been active since the lockout ended inking deals with pitchers Chris Martin, Steven Brault, Daniel Norris, David Robertson, and Jesse Chavez. Even with the injuries to Adbert Alzolay, Brad Wieck, and Codi Heuer, not all players recently signed are going to have a spot on this roster.

Alzolay is expected to miss the first couple of months with a lat strain, so his return could create another logjam further into the season.

Brault, Norris, and Robertson look like reclamation projects. Despite an injury-plagued 2021, Brault posted a 5.86 ERA in seven starts. It’ll be interesting to see if the Cubs want to get a look at him from the rotation or if a bullpen role is his preferred job at this point in his career.

Robertson hasn’t pitched more than 12.0 innings since the 2018 season, with a Grade 1 flexor strain and Tommy John surgery limiting him to just 6.2 innings in 2019 while missing all of the 2020 season as well.

Last year with the Rays, Robertson pitched 12.0 innings, striking out 16 batters with only four walks, so perhaps he can be a hidden gem.

But Mychal Givens should give the Cubs a legitimate weapon out of the bullpen. It’s not a flashy move by any means, but it’s one that needed to be made.

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