Chicago Cubs Hoping Open Closer Role Will Entice Relievers
It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs struggled mightily to find a closer last season. In fact, as many as five pitchers recorded at least one save in 2013. The organization has already declared that the closer role will be won in Spring Training. For that reason, free agent relievers who want a shot at being a closer should truly consider signing with Chicago.
“In free agency, opportunity is a great thing,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said, according to the team’s website. “When you have that opportunity, it’s something you can take advantage of.”
The Cubs believe they have several capable arms on the roster that will jump at the opportunity to close games in 2014. There’s no question competition brings out the best in people, which is why there’s plenty of optimism that a capable closer will emerge from the pack.
With that being said, it certainly couldn’t hurt to entice free agent relievers to sign by using the closer role as bait. Some relief pitchers don’t like the pressure of the ninth inning role, while others dream of the opportunity to record a save in the big leagues.
“I think we have people on the roster who can certainly hold down that (closer) job,” Hoyer said. “At that point, it would be on [manager Rick Renteria] to name a closer in Spring Training. I’m not sure that will happen or not. I think we have more power arms on the roster and we feel better about our bullpen. We do still want to add to it.”
As of right now, Pedro Strop is the favorite for the job, while Hector Rondon will provide competition in the spring.