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Could the Cubs improve their bullpen by making a trade?

There are some current Cubs relievers who are replaceable.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Back in early-April, the Cubs bullpen was being perceived as a team weakness. Fast forward about a month, and it’s been suspiciously non-destructive, or even better than that. The relievers that deserved a launching to the surface of the moon? They’re okay now. Xavier Cedeno and Mike Montgomery sound ready for a return, and Iowa has a few useful options cooling their jets in the Pacific Coast League. My question today serves two purposes. Who do you consider the Cubs’ worst reliever?

To clarify my definition, Dillon Maples is exempted, as he can be returned to Iowa. So could Kyle Ryan, but he’s been early-2018 Randy Rosario, so far. Very soon, a decision will (likely) have to be made between Allen Webster and Brad Brach. I don’t think Brandon Kintzler is still in the discussion. When Cedeno and Montgomery are back, someone might have to go. Whoever it is will likely be better than “should have been released, anyway” like many DFA options.

On Saturday, the Mets and Brewers played a long extra-inning game. The Brewers used Corbin Burnes (with an ERA over 10) to start the 10th. I don’t think Burnes is that bad of a pitcher, but the Brewers are churning through whoever is available, and a few have been abysmal. Taylor Williams was sent to Triple-A after tossing the game’s last four innings. Jay Jackson was a DFA casualty.

On the other hand, the Mets called up Chris Flexen on Saturday. By choice, and not because of a track steward’s inquiry. Flexen was charged with the loss, and was sent back to the minors for Sunday. While the Mets and Brewers try to contend, their bullpens seem to be missing a few bike spokes. It would seem one of them ought to be mildly interested in a reliever like (whoever the Cubs won’t keep). It stands to reason a better return might be acquired before a player is designated for assignment.

I like to provide a third option, when possible. The Mariners added a “lowest hanging piece of fruit” when acquiring Austin Adams for Nick Wells and cash today from the Nationals. Adams seems a rather odd addition, but Jerry DiPoto likes to trade. If Theo Epstein can pit three general managers against each other, he should get something better than “cash considerations” in exchange.

This is, to an extent, trading from a position of strength. On the other side of the coin, trades for Brad Brach-type relievers rarely fetch much in return. If that’s what you’re looking at, so it is. The Cubs ought to be able to get more than surrender value with three contenders looking somewhat tired in their bullpens.

As they’re contenders, no MLB talent would come back in return, in all likelihood. Nor would any Top 30 prospects. The type of guy that Brach might bring back in early-May might be a second- or third-day draft choice from last season’s draft. That’s nothing to put on a birthday present list for a return, but hoping for a David Bote or Trent Giambrone return is likely as good as is happening. Especially when dealing with a contender for a marginal reliever.

The Cubs are going to need to make a trade, sooner or later. Would sooner be better? Or would the better idea to hide someone on the injured list? Fringe transactions are just that. Getting “more than less” from those types of trades can help to extend windows. How would you like to see the Cubs navigate the upcoming reliever influx? Should “trades with the Brewers” should be avoided? Include your preferences below. I’d like to add talent, but want to hear your preferences.


After Dillon Maples gets returned to Iowa, what would you like to see happen to the bullpen afterward?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Trade Brad Brach
    (40 votes)
  • 20%
    Trade Allen Webster
    (125 votes)
  • 4%
    Trade Xavier Cedeno
    (25 votes)
  • 45%
    No trades with the Brewers
    (278 votes)
  • 20%
    Use the injured list
    (124 votes)
  • 4%
    Other (include comments below)
    (25 votes)
617 votes total Vote Now