MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs' bullpen figured to look pretty set, but the team announced an addition Friday that could create some competition in the relief corps.
Shae Simmons, who pitched in nine games with the Seattle Mariners last season, agreed to a 2018 major league split contract with the Cubs and could be in the mix for a spot in the bullpen.
Simmons has pitched in 42 big league games, the bulk of those coming in 2014 with the Atlanta Braves, when he posted a 2.91 ERA in 21.2 innings. He missed the entirety of the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. He was traded to the Mariners after the 2016 season and again battled injuries last season, pitching only 7.2 innings.
Simmons could potentially provide some competition in the bullpen as guys like Justin Grimm and Justin Wilson try to bounce back from what they did in 2017. Roster spots would figure to be locked in for the likes of Steve Cishek, Brian Duensing, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery, Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop.
Wilson would also seem a safe bet to be in the bullpen considering how good he was before coming over to the Cubs in last summer's midseason trade with the Detroit Tigers. He had a 2.68 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 40.1 innings with the Tigers, and then posted a 5.09 ERA in his 17.2 innings with the Cubs. He's in need of a bounce-back season, for sure, but you'd have to imagine he'll get the opportunity to do just that.
That leaves Grimm, who while the favorite for that final bullpen spot admittedly had a bad season in 2017. He had a 5.53 ERA in 50 big league appearances and was shuttled back and forth between the North Side and Triple-A Iowa.
Offseason additions have already shaped the look of this 2018 bullpen, and perhaps Simmons makes one more newcomer that could make an impact in relief this season.