After being completely quiet in the offseason the Cubs have finally started to make some moves to restructure their bullpen leading into spring training. Last Friday hours before the 2020 Cubs Convention kicked off for the weekend. the Cubs worked out a deal with the Dodgers in which the Cubs acquired right-handed pitcher Casey Sadler, in return Cubs send minor-league infielder Clayton Daniel.
The deal doesn’t really tickle one’s fancy if you’re a Cubs fan, however the Cubs finally make some type of move that can help a Cubs bullpen that was a complete shit show as many Cubs fans would agree with me last season. In 2019 Sadler made 33 appearances between the Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays with a record of 4-0, and a 2.14 ERA and a total of 31 strikeouts.
The Cubs weren’t done there on Tuesday the Cubs added another piece to their bullpen in a deal with the Red Sox that brings right-hander Travis Larkin in exchange the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash consideration. Larkin made his big-league debut last season posting a 3.86 ERA in 16 total appearances including three starts.
Lakins is expected to be one several candidates for a bullpen spot, with only closer Craig Kimbrel and set-up men Rowan Wick and Kyle Ryan and Brad Wieck assured of relief roles to start the season. Now, there are few familiar faces that are returning, and no big salaries to speak of. Which should make for some real competition in the spring for several potential openings, though it won’t get Cubs’ fans excited leading into Opening Day. There are a lot of question marks building a bullpen out of that group, especially considering the proven names the Cubs lost from last year’s club (Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, Brandon Kintzler).
Here’s a list of players that will be heading into spring training that will be competing for a roster spot:
Ryan Tepera (free agent)
Trevor Megill (Rule 5 pick)
Dan Winkler (free agent)
CD Pelham (waiver pickup)
Brandon Morrow (minor-league free agent)
Duane Underwood Jr. (out of minor-league options)
Alec Mills (out of options)
Not going to lie, seeing these group of guys being used to build a bullpen around scares the shit out of me as a Cubs fan. If Ross wants to come in and start his coaching career on a positive note he’s going to have to rely on his everyday starters to come in everyday ready to score a lot of runs because I feel the bullpen will pick up right where it left off last season and they will struggle to start off the 2020 season. I think that this bullpen is going to need time to get adjusted and players and have guys establish their roles in the bullpen. Hopefully Kimbrel can bounce back and be the big money closer that the Cubs signed in June of last year after having a disappointing start to his career as a Cub.
One pitcher I would keep my eye on is CD Pelham, a left-handed pitcher the Cubs acquired from the Texas Rangers in November. Pelham stands tall at 6 feet and 6 inches and weighs about 235 pounds and has some would say one of the longest arms in baseball. Pelham might be the hard throwing big fella that the Cubs bullpen have been desperately searching for. I don’t see him making the Opening Day roster, but I do see this kid on the team at some point this season.
There are a lot of questions and concerns about the Cubs bullpen that hopefully get answered in spring training, all I can say to my fellow Cubs is buckle up. Because baseball is back in Chicago ladies and gentlemen!