By Jacob Kornhauser on April 14, 2014
After manager Rick Renteria said "others will be given a chance to close," the closing job on the north side of Chicago has been left wide open. It's anybody's guess who will claim the spot, but there are a few candidates who could begin in either in the near future or by the start of next season. Here are five such players.
Rondon has shown throughout his career that he has closer stuff when he wants to. Unfortunately, he's injured often and is inconsistent, which is why he hasn't gotten the chance to close. He picked up a save against the Cardinals over the weekend and if he shows he can be dependable, it's possible he could be tabbed as the club's closer eventually.
Vizcaino won't be closing games in the near future for the Cubs, but the young flamethrower has the potential to be the club's long-term solution at the position. He hits triple-digits on the gun and has lights-out stuff when healthy, so by 2015 he could be the team's full-time closer.
The best lefty the Cubs have in the pen, Russell could be an interesting option for the closer spot. As a starter-turned-reliever, Russell has transitioned nicely into the bullpen. However, based on matchups, it remains to be seen if Russell will be given a chance to claim the closer job or not.
Grimm has been the best reliever the Cubs have had this season. He hasn't allowed a run yet and has appeared in two-thirds of the team's games. Right now, he's the hot pitcher in the bullpen and if he can ride that momentum during this seemingly open competition for the closer spot, he could very well claim that opening.
This closer competition is Strop's to lose. He's currently the team's setup man and has closed games down the stretch of the 2013 season. Either he or Vizcaino are likely to be the closers of the future, so grooming him into that role right now when there's not as much pressure would make a whole lot of sense.
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