The Cubs, after surging back to .500 ahead of the trade deadline thanks to a recent eight-game win streak, have left their previously-expected role as sellers behind them and instead pivoted toward buying by landing third baseman Jeimer Candelario in a deal with the Nationals yesterday. With just a couple of hours left before the trade deadline, Chicago appears to have at least one more item on their shopping list: relief pitching, particularly from the left side.
Both Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM and Jesse Rogers of ESPN have linked the club to the lefty relief market in recent days, with Levine noting the club’s interest in Mets left-hander Brooks Raley while Rogers lists Rockies southpaw Brent Suter and Aaron Bummer of the White Sox as potential options for the Cubs. Jon Heyman of the New York Post, meanwhile, suggested a reunion with the Cubs as one possible destination for Diamondbacks lefty Andrew Chafin, who he suggests “could be dealt” before this evening’s deadline.
While the club appears to have a preference for a southpaw, they’ve also apparently explored adding right-handed relief options, as Levine reports the club has “kicked the tires” on Pirates closer David Bednar while Rogers suggests the club could have interest in Tigers right-handers Alex Lange and Jason Foley. While the club already added a right-handed relief option yesterday by acquiring Jose Cuas from the Royals, each of Bednar, Lange, and Foley would figure to be a more impactful option than Cuas, who sports a 4.54 ERA in 45 appearances this season.
That the bullpen would be a focus for Chicago is hardly a surprise, as the club’s 3.93 in the bullpen this season ranks middle-of-the-pack, with offseason acquisitions Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer having largely struggled in Chicago while expected late-inning options Keegan Thompson and Brandon Hughes have struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness.