Only the Rockies, Brewers and Astros relievers allowed more earned-runs than Chicago in the National League last season.
The Cubs’ pen also allowed the second most HR in the NL (56) and worse, issued the most walks in all of baseball (259).
Carlos Marmol could be traded by the end of the Winter Meetings next week. Michael Bowden and Alberto Cabrera are being stretched out as starters this offseason. That basically leaves Camp and James Russell as the only reliable relief arms.
Meanwhile, Lendy Castillo, Jaye Chapman and Jeff Beliveau are still unproven. So is Rafael Dolis. Maybe there’s a pleasant bullpen surprise this spring among Arodys Vizcaino, Trey McNutt or Robert Whitenack, but even so that’s not enough for a formidable bullpen.
So in addition to finding the right fit at third base and a center fielder, improving the bullpen must be high on the Cubs’ list of repairs.
I wouldn’t suspect the bullpen issues get ironed out at the Winter Meetings, there might be a move (Marmol), but it’s something to keep an eye on as we move deeper into the offseason.
I have to believe at some point Team Theo will add at least one, if not two, quality relievers before the start of spring training.