The Cubs have a bunch of free agents from their 2019 team and there are at least a few who they should strongly consider re-signing this offseason.
So, let’s go through the list!
Age: 33, 101 games in 2019, slash line: .232/.305/.355
27 games with Cubs, slash line .189/.283/.283
Unless the Cubs are trading Willson Contreras or Victor Caratini there’s no need to bring back Lucroy and even if they do, I’d rather the Cubs turn to someone else as the team’s second catcher.
Age: 34, 41.2 IP in 2019, 4.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
I’m sure most Cubs fans are finished with Strop, but when you look back at his 2019 season it’s pretty easy to pin down the reason he struggled, injuries. I’m not sure Strop was ever fully healthy after April and his velocity stayed down after the opening month of the season. I’m not saying the Cubs should count on Strop to be their top set-up man in 2020, but I doubt he gets many multi-year offers this offseason. I could see Strop re-signing on a team-friendly deal for 2020.
Age: 35, 141.2 IP in 2019, 3.81 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
The left-handed pitcher was leading the rotation until his oblique injury in June. After that he wasn’t himself, returning too early from the injured list and it showed as the veteran starter had no command in the final months of the season. He’ll be 36-years-old by the start of the 2020 season and although Hamels might not be the Cubs’ top priority to bring back he might still be high on their list. A one or two-year deal worth $12-13 million per season wouldn’t bad.
Age: 38, 47 games in 2019, slash line: 260/.358/.313
Ben Zobrist is still talking about playing in 2020 and just like Strop, I think the Cubs can bring him back on a pretty cheap, one-year deal. Wrote about it earlier this week and I’ll repeat it here. For maybe, what $2 million, Zobrist would make a nice bench piece for the Cubs in 2020.
Age: 33, 64 IP in 2019, 2.95 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Steve Cishek had a good stretch in his two seasons with the Cubs, but his time on the North Side has run its course. I’d rather the team give Cishek’s and at least one more spot in the bullpen to a young pitcher coming up from Triple-A next season.
Age: 35, 57 IP in 2019, 2.68 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Just like Cishek, Brandon Kintzler was good overall in 2019, but instead of a multi-year deal for the right-hander in his mid-30s, I’d prefer if the Cubs just went with a younger arm.
Age: 27, 151 games in 2019, slash line: .289/.337/.525
51 games with Cubs, slash line: .321/.356/.646
I want him back, you want him back, the Cubs want him back. He wants to be back.
We’ll see if they do indeed work out a deal.
Age: 33, 2 IP in 2019, 0.00 ERA, 3.50 WHIP
Although Xavier Cedeno didn’t cost the Cubs much money to sign last offseason he was still a huge disappointment. He only appeared in five games for the Cubs and was injured since spring training. Like a few of the other Cubs free agent relievers who are in their mid-30s, just give the opportunity to some of your younger pitchers instead.
Speaking generally about the Cubs offseason and well, specifically the bullpen, if they want to target one high-leverage reliever in free agency that’s great. However, for the rest of the bullpen, I’d much rather see the Cubs give opportunities to some of their minor leaguers.