Even though the Chicago Cubs won the game today 8-3, closer Jose Veras looked bad once again and red flags are up everywhere in the Cubs’ bullpen. Not able to locate his pitches, Veras walked four Philadelphia Phillies batters and allowed two earned runs. Grouping this with his blown save against the Pirates earlier this week, Veras needs to be relegated to the set up role.
It’s only logical that Pedro Strop would step into the closer role as he’s the current set up man and potential closer of the future. He showed last season that he has what it takes to make it as a closer in the majors and now is his time to prove it. Before the bullpen implodes again this season, the Cubs need to find a solution to their closer role and Strop is it.
Management wants to develop their talent so that players will be ready to play in roles they’ll be needed in when the team is contending. There’s a very good possibility that Strop will be the closer when that’s the case for the Cubs so they can develop him now so he’s ready when the games really count. It’s better to have him take his lumps now rather than when the team wants to be competing for the playoffs. Quite frankly, inserting Strop into the closer role is the right move for the Cubs right now and in the long term.
There’s still a chance manager Rick Renteria won’t pull the trigger on the bullpen switch. Veras is likely to be traded at the deadline since he is only signed through the end of the 2014 season. Clearly, he will be more valuable to other teams if he performs in the closer role rather than the set up role for the Cubs. Even though he’s likely to set up for any contender that deals for him, closing now would increase his value at the trade deadline.
Despite the fact that closing games would increase Veras’ value in a trade, the team needs to groom Strop into his future role while improving the team’s chances this year as well. He’s the future at the position and because of Veras’ recent struggles, he may be the present at the position as well.