Heading into the 2018 MLB trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs knew that they needed to do two things. One thing that they wanted to do was acquire a veteran arm that could help their starting rotation down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs. They also needed to acquire more bullpen help.
Chicago had already seen the same story forming that they saw last year. That would be a talented bullpen that simply could not figure out how to be consistent.
Theo Epstein was not about to allow the bullpen to end up being the undoing of this team. His decision was to go out and acquire not one, but two arms that can both eat up innings and bring consistently solid pitching to the mound.
First, the Cubs acquired Jesse Chavez in a deal with the Texas Rangers. Since being traded to the Cubs, Chavez has pitched 12.2 innings and has only given up two earned runs. He has struck out 14 batters and walked just one and has posted a 1.42 ERA.
Brandon Kintzler was then acquired in a deal with the Washington Nationals. It was a move that surprised some fans, but Kintzler showed last season that he is a more than capable arm come postseason time. Washington may have wanted to keep him around, but they have struggled this season, and trading Kintzler made sense for the direction they are heading.
In the four games that Kintzler has appeared in for the Cubs, he has pitched in 3.2 innings and has not given up a single run. He has one strikeout and one walk in limited time.
That being said, Chavez and Kintzler were needed pieces to compete for a World Series this season. If the Cubs had stood pat and kept the bullpen they had, it would have been difficult to beat talented offenses in a seven-game playoff series.
Epstein has made Cubs’ fans feel comfortable when it comes to the trade deadline. He has proven himself to bring in the right players, but also not overpay to make those moves. That was the case once again this year, as the Cubs did not give up anything important to make these deals, including the trade for Cole Hamels.
Not only did Chicago make a move that will help them this season, but Kintzler has another year left on his deal if the Cubs choose to take it. Chavez is scheduled to head into free agency following the 2018 season, but the Cubs could very easily bring him back on a team-friendly contract.
Only time will tell if the Cubs can compete for their second World Series win in as many years. Back in 2016, the Cubs broke their curse, but Epstein and company do not want to stop there. Chicago is all-in to bring another title back home and these moves proved that.
Expect to see both Chavez and Kintzler continue pitching well throughout the remainder of the season. Both players are quality veterans that have proven themselves throughout their careers. That isn’t something that is going to change anytime soon.