Hey, the Cubs finally made a move!
It's been 88 days since the World Series ended and the Cubs now have their first notable addition to the bullpen in the form of Brad Brach with $4.35 million guaranteed for one year with an option for 2020:
Brach deal with #Cubs is at least $4.35M for one year, sources tell The Athletic. Both player and club have options for 2020. Deal could grow to two years, $9.5M if Cubs exercise their option. Two-year guarantee would be less if team declines and Brach exercises his option.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2019
The Cubs sorely needed relief reinforcements and Theo Epstein said just last weekend at Cubs Convention they weren't done adding to the bullpen.
Brach is a nice piece, especially on a low-risk deal that will pay him $3 million for 2019 with a team option for 2020 that includes a buyout, according to Rosenthal. He's not a name that will move the needle much, but he's been a very solid late-inning reliever for a few years now.
The 6-foot-6 right-hander turns 33 in April and has racked up 33 saves and 66 holds over the last five seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. In that same span, he posted a 2.89 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings.
Brach filled in as the Orioles closer at various points the last couple years while Zach Britton was injured, but does have 10 blown saves since the start of 2017.
After a tough start to 2018 (4.85 ERA, 1.77 WHIP), Brach was dealt to the Braves and enjoyed a lot of success in Atlanta, posting a 1.52 ERA in 27 outings. He also made two postseason appearances in the NLDS against the Dodgers and has 5 playoff innings in his career.
Brach gives the Cubs another option for high-leverage situations, as he will likely join Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek as the top setup guys to closer Pedro Strop while Brandon Morrow gets healthy.
To start the year, the Cubs bullpen can look something like this:
Carl Edwards Jr.
Morrow will start the year on the disabled list and miss probably the first few weeks of the season. Once he returns, that could give manager Joe Maddon five solid options from the right side out of the bullpen.
The Cubs also have some depth in the form of Randy Rosario, Alec Mills, Kyle Ryan, Dillon Maples and Rowan Wick should injuries or ineffectiveness strike.