By Bruce Levine—
ORLANDO, Fla. (670 The Score) – As they waited to officially welcome Brandon Morrow following his medical exam, Cubs front office members continued to kick the tires on numerous free-agent relievers as the Winter Meetings continued Tuesday.
Right-handers Addison Reed, Brandon Kintzler and Anthony Swarzak are three back-end relievers whom the Cubs have considered. They’re all considered quality setup men for any team and possible closer candidates for clubs that are more open-minded about the ninth-inning role. Reed and Kintzler have closing experience, while Swarzak doesn’t.
Reed, 28, had a 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 77 appearances split between the Mets and Red Sox last season. Kintzler, 33, had a 3.03 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 72 appearances split between the Twins and Nationals. Swarzak, 32, had a 2.33 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 70 appearances split between the White Sox and Brewers.
The Cubs are still waiting for the market to be established on their former closer, Wade Davis, who’s looking for a club to give him a three- or four-year deal. Chicago’s front office is keeping a close eye on the offers and interest Davis receives, as the Cubs would love to have him back on a shorter-term deal. The Cubs are preaching patience internally, as the addition of Morrow gives them some insurance on the back end of the bullpen.
Manager Joe Maddon would like to have an “anchor” as a closer but added he has an open mind about bullpen roles for 2018 as he watches the new pitching staff evolve.
“There will be so many different options,” Maddon said of the bullpen while at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. “We have a new pitching coach, so we will have different thoughts and ideas. I like the pen, and it will get even better throughout the offseason. There are some really good arms. I am not worried about having an A and B (two closers). We have really capable lefties and righties. I think maybe not by the end of these meetings, but the end of the offseason, we will have a really firm bullpen again.”
The Cubs also are continuing their strong push for free-agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who was originally thought to be seeking $13 million to $15 million annually on a multi-year deal. The Cubs have had ongoing conversations with Cobb’s agent, Dan Horwits.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.