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Reworking the Bullpen

Cubs DNA team takes a look at some key questions surrounding the Cubs bullpen for 2020, round robin style.


Does it make sense to rely on Craig Kimbrel as closer in 2020?

Brooke: The last time we had a good, steady reliable closer was Wade Davis! Gosh, I miss that guy! I don't know enough about his routine and why he was terrible last year, but let's not forget that he did add a bunch of pitches he added to Yu Darvish's mix! I guess that's my way of saying the baseball brain is still there? I hope his baseball body is too?

Matt: I truly believe Kimbrel will be just fine in 2020. I expect him to be very good following a traditional offseason. However, they need a backup closer like Brad Hand or the like, just in case. I'm going all-in on a Lindor/Hand pkg from Cleveland.

Pronk: I have 60% confidence in him. He "should" be better after getting a spring training this year. But he struggled in 2018 leading to his delayed signing. RPs have a short shelf life, so I'm bringing on on somebody else as a plan B

Staci: I think Dirty Craig will be fine with a full spring to get ready and integrated into the team.

Steven: Yes. Spring training will help and a realistic HR/9 ratio near his career norm will greatly help. Seriously, his career HR/9 is 0.72 and that includes last year's 3.92. He will be better.

Tina: Boy, I hope so! I wasn't too keen on his signing (watching his 2018 playoff performance wanted to make me barf every time) but I hope with full training this year, he can get back on track.


Does it make sense to bring back Strop on a 1 year 4 million deal?

Brooke: Four million is more than I was expecting him to fetch but I do think it makes sense to bring him back. His September was actually pretty good. Even if you are bringing him back to pitch in the 6th inning, he's such a team leader and literally the ONLY one who could/would dare keep Javy in check.

Matt: Absolutely, and I don't think he'll cost that much.

Pronk: Yes. I think he can come back and put up a reasonable 3 ERA. He's no longer a lockdown RP, but still has value.

Staci: It honestly depends on who else is available.

Steven: At that rate, yes although there are better relievers you can get on the market that won't cost too much.

Tina: Yes, I think a healthy Strop is still an effective arm to have.


Which offseason FA RP should the Cubs target?


Matt: Kyle Barraclough on a MiLB deal, Diekman same way. I'm actually pretty content with the bullpen and don't think we need to spend limited resources here.

Pronk: BROOKS POUNDER is a free agent. A Hector Rondon reunion intrigues me. Other than that, the FA market for RPs looks a bit weak.

Staci: I wish Dellin Betances didn't have such a checkered injury past, because he's exactly what the Cubs need.

Steven: I would like to see the Cubs sign Chris Martin. Strikes guys out and doesn't walk many. Throws hard. Get him. (sorry Steven, the Barves signed Martin)

Tina: Brooks Pounder is a free agent? He's collecting as many jerseys as EJax! (Well, not really, but...) And also to keep another player out of the Brewers rotation, might I suggest Drew Pomeranz?

Brooke: Anybody but Hector Rondon! That guy was such a rotten apple! (Sorry Pronk!). Agree with Steven though we need some swing and miss guys!!!!


From players currently under contract, who will return to the Cubs pen next year?

Matt: Kimbrel, Ryan, Wick, Wieck, Mills/Chatty (one might be 5th starter), Hultzen, Norwood, Str

Pronk: Kimbrel, Kyle Ryan, Tyler Chatwood, Rowan Wick, Brad Wieck, Dillon Maples

Staci: Kimbrel, Ryan, the Wi(e)cks, and possibly Alec Mills and Chatty.

Steven: Kimbrel, Ryan, Wick, and Wieck. Chatwood as well depending on the fifth starter spot.

Tina: Kimbrel, Ryan, Thicc Wieck, Littler Wick, Mills, Chatty (if he doesn't move into the SP role). Do I dare say Hottie Maples?

Brooke: Kimbrel, Alec Mills (no one is giving this guy any love???), everybody named Wi(e)ck, and Hultzen. (And yes I left off Chatty on purpose, sorry Tina!!!) (Cause Chatty is going into the SP rotation! haha-- Tina)


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