Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs have made it clear that they will be undergoing a massive bullpen change this offseason. Wade Davis is expected to leave in free agency, while the Cubs also decided not to bring back Hector Rondon. Chicago could also end up losing Brian Duensing in free agency.
It appears that the Cubs have already moved on from Davis, their star closer from last season. Chicago was able to land Los Angeles Dodgers’ hurler Brandon Morrow on a two-year contract, according to a report from MLB.com. That deal likely means that he will end up taking over the closer role from Davis.
Chicago will still have Carl Edwards Jr. and Pedro Strop to help anchor their bullpen. They are also hoping that Justin Wilson can figure things out after a rough tenure with the Cubs after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Detroit Tigers.
That being said, Epstein and company should still be focusing on one reliever in free agency to beef up their bullpen.
Brandon Kintzler would be a perfect addition for the Cubs and would give them exactly what they need. They could use consistent arms that can eat innings, which is exactly what Kintzler would bring to the table. He has been on many Cubs’ fans wishlists and is high up on the reliever list from a talent perspective.
Last season split between the Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals, Kintzler put together an impressive all-around season. He finished the year with a 3.03 ERA to go along with 29 saves. Those numbers would look awfully good for the Cubs in the middle of their bullpen.
At 33 years of age, the Cubs would likely only be interested in a two-year deal maximum with Kintzler. He would be a big part of the process to compete for another championship over the next two years.
Kintzler likely wouldn’t cost too terribly much to bring on board for the Cubs. They are reportedly giving Morrow somewhere between $10-11 million. If that is the price range for a closer, Kintzler would demand between $8-10 million more than likely.
Assuming that the price tag is in that ballpark, the Cubs cannot afford to miss out on signing him. Kintzler can be exactly what the Cubs need as an inning eater out of their bullpen and would have a huge role for a championship contender once again this season. Chicago certainly does appear like a good landing spot for him.
Chicago won’t be the only team with major interest in signing Kintzler. There are plenty of teams that could use a reliever with his ability, including the Nationals, who acquired him last season and were a nice fit.
Expect to see Epstein and the Cubs look to make a move for another bullpen arm or two. They are also going to be aggressive in their pursuit of another starting pitcher.
Kintzler may not end up with the Cubs, but he certainly appears to be a perfect fit if the two sides can agree to terms on a fair contract for both sides.