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Pedro Strop won’t pitch for the Cubs in 2020

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The team does need some more relief help, though.

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Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Buried in this article by Sahadev Sharma in The Athletic about the Cubs’ bullpen issues with Rowan Wick likely out for the season is this brief note about Pedro Strop:

They signed Pedro Strop to a minor-league deal after being released by the Reds earlier this season. Unfortunately, the stuff never fully ticked back up to where it had been when he was at his best, and Strop was recently shut down with a hip injury, effectively ending his 2020 season.

The minor-league deal for Pedro was still worth it, in my view. There was no financial risk since the Reds released him and have to pay him. Further, Strop is so well-liked and respected within the Cubs organization that simply having his presence in South Bend is a good thing, as he can help mentor some of the team’s younger pitchers. If he can get healthy over the winter, I wouldn’t object to the Cubs offering him another minor-league deal for spring training 2021. If he still can’t get healthy enough to pitch, I hope they can keep him around as a minor-league coach or instructor.

The issues regarding the bullpen mentioned in Sharma’s article are real. Wick had become one of the key relievers in manager David Ross’ “circle of trust” and without him, someone else will have to step up. Sharma mentions both Duane Underwood Jr. and Jason Adam, and gives props to Adam for recent good pitching:

Adam probably has the best chance to move up a slot, so to say, with Wick out. He has the combination of talent and stuff and he’s in a good spot with how he’s pitching. In 10 1/3 innings this year, Adam has struck out 18 of 45 batters and delivered a 2.61 ERA. His command can come and go (11.1 percent walk rate), but he has clear swing-and-miss ability and multiple plus pitches. His four-seamer, which sits at 95 mph, and curveball-slider combo all have elite spin, and he utilizes a harder changeup that’s in the low 90s but has tremendous arm-side run and some drop that gives hitters a very different look from his other pitches as it lacks spin.

That’s an excellent K rate, significantly better than the one he had in Toronto and Kansas City in 2018 and 2019.

The Cubs are getting good pitching in closing situations now from Craig Kimbrel, who seems “fixed,” for lack of a better term, and Jeremy Jeffress, who was a bit shaky Friday but still nailed down his eighth save. They’ll need someone to take the setup role behind those two. Hopefully someone steps up over the season’s final eight games so Ross and the coaching staff can expand that “circle of trust” in the postseason.