The Chicago Cubs will hold a competition in Spring Training for numerous bullpen openings, but who will be available to take the mound in relief when the season begins on March 28th in Texas?
Last off-season, the Chicago Cubs signed Brandon Morrow (two-years, $21.00 million), Steve Cishek (two-years, $13.00 million), Brian Duensing (two-years $7.00 million), Shae Simmons (one-year, $750 thousand), and Dario Alvarez (one-year, $545 thousand) in an attempt to fortify their bullpen. The team also added Drew Smyly (two-years, $7.00 million) to serve in relief if there was not an available spot in the starting rotation.
The team also claimed Randy Rosario off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins and Cory Mazzoni off of waivers from the San Diego Padres. Anthony Bass, Kyle Ryan, Michael Roth, Danny Hultzen, and Allen Webster were also added during the off-season on minor league contracts.
Despite a number of notable additions, the team saw Wade Davis depart to the Colorado Rockies and Hector Rondon depart to the Houston Astros. Koji Uehara also left the team in favor of returning to the Japan Central League as a member of the Yomiuri Giants, where he spent the first 10 years of his professional career.
As many top relievers left the team, additional reinforcements were desperately needed alongside returning relievers such as Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr. Justin Wilson, and Justin Grimm. Although Cishek and Rosario performed well during each of their first seasons in Chicago, the remainder of the new additions did not have much of an impact last season.
For example, Morrow was only able to appear in 35 games, Smyly was unable to make an appearance, and Duensing compiled a dismal 7.65 earned run average. Nonetheless, before we take a look at the newly added relief pitchers for the upcoming bullpen competition during Spring Training, let’s take a look at how the Cubs’ bullpen performed last season.