The bullpen was running on fumes near the end of the season and we’ve gone over how desperate the Cubs are to improve it before 2019. The team reportedly has been interested in several of the top relief arms in free agency, but it’s starting to seem more likely that they’ll settle for some of the lower-tier guys.

Here’s a quick blurb from Gordon Wittenmyer in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Sources say the Cubs plan to add two established relievers — “not high end” — but that it likely won’t happen until the market plays out, possibly into next month.

So, two things. First, I guess you can rule out Andrew Miller, Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino, who have been linked to the Cubs and are expected to get at least $10 million per year on a contract. Speaking of money, this really isn’t anything new, but the Cubs are also trying to unload some money before they go out and acquire a couple new relievers.

The Cubs have to address the bullpen, so that means a few players are going to be shipped out. It’s not ideal and the Cubs don’t have many contracts that are attractive to other teams.

The idea of trading Ben Zobrist has been floated, but then that just creates another hole on the roster. We’re still at the “Cubs need to get creative” stage of the offseason, which brings us back to Wittenmyer’s report.

The Cubs might not add to the bullpen until January, waiting to see what the market is. So, you should probably expect some additions to the Cubs bullpen after guys like Miller and Britton sign deals, or after the Cubs make a trade to get some financial relief.

Via the Chicago Tribune.

But a source who has been in contact with the Cubs speculated that the team may need to make a trade or two to free up some money to acquire the relievers they have targeted.

There have been some trades and a couple big signings, but it’s kind of looking like another slow offseason.