There are several free agent relief pitchers out on the market this winter. The Chicago Cubs will look to revamp a bullpen that was not exactly one of the greatest in 2013. The Cubs ranked near the bottom of the league in blown saves, yet ranked toward the top in quality starts. The final nine outs were the unraveling of the team time and time again. Sadly, calling the game after six innings is not an option.
While they may be out of the budget or vision for the 2014 season, there are two guys that are available that would bring an instant street cred to a team that could use some fierce ignition. Brian Wilson and Grant Balfour are two pitchers with closing experience and personalities that will not be pushed around. Wilson is a World Series Champion who has a 0.00 ERA in the post-season. His beard and attitude will bring an established closer to a team that is sorely seeking one. Wrigley Field is a great atmosphere to be in come the ninth inning. That emotion and electricity will easily be matched by Wilson, who is always out to prove a point. He could be a leader for a team that needs to nail down more victories come the late innings.
Balfour is another pitcher with an excitable personality. He is not afraid to get into a shouting match in between pitches, as was evident during the playoffs this year. Over the last two seasons, Balfour has one of the best save percentages in the league. He can be another guy that a clubhouse can feed off of emotionally to close out games. Knowing that there is an anchor at the end of the bullpen is a piece of the puzzle that can be built around.
Pedro Strop was brought over mid-season via trade last year, and had some great outings in a Cubs uniform. Unless a move or signing is made, he could be the guy getting the ball in the ninth inning next season. His 2014 season could be a major positive for the team. But with no disrespect, Strop is no Wilson or Balfour when it comes to closing out a ball game. Wilson and Balfour have an edge to them that a team and fan base can rally around. Both are just as likely to come out of the bullpen sporting blue colored beards as well; crazier things have been done.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.