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Cub Tracks spells relief

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Theo backs Joe, Harper bazaar, KB toys with us, and other bullets

Wild Card Game - Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Cishek gets ready to hurl
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We’ll continue to operate under the assumption that quality news won’t be plentiful, and continue to indulge in some mild speculation. In line with our previous two installments, we’ll sneak a quick peek at the relief pitching possibilities, prior to any deals/changes in responsibility. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll keep everyone that was on the payroll at season’s end, for now — I fully expect to keep speculating on these grounds through the winter. Roster info from The Cub Reporter.

  1. Brandon Morrow — closer
  2. Pedro Strop — setup/closer
  3. Steve Cishek — setup/closer
  4. Drew Smyly (L) — long/mid
  5. Carl Edwards Jr — mid/setup
  6. Randy Rosario (L) — mid/setup
  7. Brandon Kintzler — mid
  8. Dillon Maples — mid
  9. James Norwood — mid
  10. Allen Webster — mid
  11. Jesse Chavez (FA)
  12. Jaime Garcia (L) (FA)
  13. Jorge de la Rosa (L) (FA)
  14. Justin Wilson (L) (FA)
  15. Dakota Mekkes
  16. Duane Underwood Jr
  17. Rob Zastryzny (L)
  18. Brian Duensing (L)

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Chavez and Garcia resign. Wilson is a definite maybe and de la Rosa maybe a little more farfetched, but not out of the question. Kintzler is likely to be back but how much of a part he plays is up to him — a bad showing in spring training could signal the Cubs cutting ties with him. Maples, Norwood, and Webster could move up or stay in Triple A, depending. Rosario could take over Wilson’s role if Wilson isn’t retained. Edwards will have to prove himself again. There are a whole lot of moving parts here — the only definites are the top 6, and Smyly may well head for the rotation or replace Mike Montgomery if the latter is shopped. There are minor-league players who might find their way onto the major-league club.

The situation, as they say, is fluid. But those are the men looking for bullpen roles as the roster stands right now. Saturday and Sunday, we’ll take a preliminary look at the rest of the roster.

And now for the news — as always * means autoplay on, or annoying ads, or both (directions to remove for Firefox and Chrome).

Cubs News and Notes:

  • NBC Sports Chicago: Theo Epstein backs Joe Maddon as a successful manager [VIDEO].
  • ESPN: Jason McLeod speaks [AUDIO].
  • NBC Sports Chicago: Jon Lester speaks [VIDEO].
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Who’s a better fit for Cubs: Manny Machado or Bryce Harper? “...we’re eventually going to need to let some air into the conversation...”
  • Tony Andracki (NBC Sports Chicago*): Cubs hope 2019 will be the ‘Year of Strop’ all over again. “I’m glad he had that opportunity this year to close games and get some much-deserved recognition for how good he is and what he means to this team, even if it was only for 6 weeks or so,” Epstein said.
  • Michael Cerami (Bleacher Nation): Jorge De La Rosa, a reliever the Cubs can’t let get away? “He was great with the Cubs, but you can’t necessarily totally ignore his poor performance with the Diamondbacks.”
  • Cat Garcia (Fangraphs): Jaime García is fine with the bullpen. “I feel like… being in the bullpen has allowed me to feel pitches a lot better and finish pitches better,” García said.
  • Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune* {$}): 4 offseason questions for the Cubs about their catchers. “...the third in a series of a position-by-position analyses...”
  • Patrick Mooney (The Athletic {$}): How Javier Báez became the heart, brain and star of the Cubs. “He’s really been like the leader we were expecting him to be,” Strop said.
  • Michelle Bruton (OZY): This Chicago Cub’s season may never be seen again. “...it’s a nice accomplishment when you’re in a conversation with Sosa and Sandberg.”
  • Evan Altman (Cubs Insider): Report: Kris Bryant turned down extension for ‘well north of $200 million’ (or did he?). “A source with knowledge of the situation called the rumor a fabrication...”
  • Aldo Soto (Sports Mockery): It’s technically not even the offseason and we already have trade Kris Bryant “whispers”. “...let’s start from the beginning.”
  • Carrie Muskat (MLB.com*): 1st-round pick Nico Hoerner getting on track in AFL. Justin Steele, Trent Giambrone among prospects on display in Mesa.
  • John Sickels (Minor League Ball): 2018 MLB Draft: Comp Round B review, spots 69-78. Two Cubs minor-leaguers make the list.
  • Tim Stebbins (NBC Sports Chicago*): Twins reportedly interested in interviewing David Ross for manager job. “In addition to Ross, the Twins are also reportedly interested in interviewing former Cubs’ utility man and current MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa.”
  • Michael Sneed (Chicago Sun-Times* {$}): Is Maddon’s restaurant Joe’s still a go at The Park at Wrigley? “It sure seems as if nothing much is happening yet,” said a top Chicago foodie.
  • Mike Oz (Yahoo Sports): Fergie Jenkins finds all the guys who couldn’t hit his slider on ‘Old Baseball Cards’ [VIDEO].

Food for thought:

Thanks for reading.