We stand about six weeks from pitcher and catcher report dates (no dates have been officially announced, but figure somewhere between February 10 and 14), and Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer is on record as saying he still wants to add more players before spring camp begins.
One of the things the Cubs could use is more relief help. They made a good signing with Brad Boxberger, but could still use more veteran presence in the bullpen, particularly on the lefthanded side. The only lefthanded Cubs relievers with any MLB experience are Brandon Hughes and the recently-acquired Anthony Kay, neither of whom have a lot of said experience.
So here are a few more lefthanded relievers still on the open market who might help the Cubs.
The former Cubs reliever is still out there. I previously wrote about him in this article:
Chafin has put up good numbers ever since the Cubs acquired him in late 2020. He had a solid season for a bad Tigers team in 2022 and seemed to enjoy playing in Chicago. He recorded 67 strikeouts in 57⅓ innings this past year with a good walk rate.
That’s all still true. What’s also true is that Chafin made $7 million last year and might be looking for a raise. That might be too expensive for the Cubs.
Like his fellow Brad (Boxberger), Hand has previously been a closer, though did not serve in that role with the Phillies in 2022. His K rate is down and walk rate is up, though he did keep the ball in the ballpark last year (two HR in 45 innings). At age 32 (he’ll be 33 in March) he might not be too expensive.
After being a starter most of his career (including shutting down the Cubs for eight innings in the decisive Game 4 of the NLDS in 2016), Moore converted to fulltime relief for the Rangers in 2022 and was very good. He had a good K rate (10.8 per nine innings), though his walk rate wasn’t great (4.6 per nine innings). Like Hand, he kept the ball in the ballpark — only three home runs allowed in 74 innings.
Moore is 34 and probably would not be expensive.
Remember this guy? He was a Cubs Rule 5 pick in 2016 (actually selected by the Brewers, then purchased by the Cubs), but was returned to the Yankees at the end of 2017 Spring Training.
Smith had a couple of fifth-starter type years with the Marlins, then eventually wound up traded to the D-Backs in the Starling Marte deal.
He was reasonably good in relief in 2022 in Arizona, though with a high walk rate. Perhaps some time in the Cubs’ Pitch Lab could help.
Smith seems to have been around forever — he debuted with the 2012 Royals! — but he’s still just 33. Like Hand, he has closing experience but didn’t perform that role for either Atlanta or Houston in 2022. He doesn’t walk guys — 3.3 per nine innings — and his K rate has held up as he’s gotten older (10.8 per nine innings in 2022).
Smith made his big money on his just-expired contract, so perhaps he could be had for a bit less going forward.
Should the Cubs pursue any of these guys?
Which of these lefthanded relievers should the Cubs sign?
This poll is closed
None of the above
Someone else (leave in comments)