As I noted in my Wild Card preview, the Cubs bullpen is taxed, thanks in part to both Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop being injured. I don’t know if Strop is still injured or not, but he’ll be in uniform tonight. The Cubs just activated him for the Wild Card game.
Strop, who took over as the closer from the injured Morrow midseason, went down with a hamstring injury while running the bases against the Nationals in a mid-September game, sending him to the disabled list. He’s been saying all along that he thinks he can make it back for the playoffs, but until today the Cubs said nothing definitive on the matter. Now they have.
Strop is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 57/21 in 59.2 innings on the year. Getting him back for tonight’s one-and-done game is a big deal.
The Chicago Cubs have signed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year, $850,000 deal.
While Jeffress is coming off a bad year — due mostly to hip and shoulder problems — this is a surprisingly low figure for Jeffress, who was said to have had a “sizable market” last September, with the Mets, Phillies, Reds, and Rays all rumored to be in on him. It’s also worth noting that he is just a year removed from an excellent 1.29 ERA season with the Brewers. He is reported to be eligible for $200,000 in incentives, which could bring this deal closer to what a reliever of his caliber’s going rate might be.
As for the Cubs, they haven’t been particularly active this offseason — indeed, this is their first free agent acquisition — but I suppose we should give them credit for buying low on a guy who should probably be able to help their bullpen.