Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs Position Breakdown: Bullpen

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: Carlos Marmol #49 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the 9th inning against the New York Mets on August 28, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Mets 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Joe WillettSenior Writer IMarch 11, 2010

This article was originally published at TheDailyCub.com, my blog offering thoughts and insight on the Chicago Cubs.

After breaking down the starters a few days ago, it’s time to look at the guys who will be working off of their performances.

The Cubs’ bullpen has always been a concern, and they have been changing closers pretty much every season.

Most recently, Kerry Wood and Kevin Gregg held down the closer position, but neither of them were closer for more than one season.  So what will the bullpen look like this year?

Closer: Carlos Marmol
Rest of Bullpen: Complete Mess

I know that doesn’t offer up too much when it comes to telling you who will pitch what innings this season.  But at this point, your guess is as good as mine.

The Cubs lost Kevin Gregg and Aaron Heilman during the offseason.  And with Angel Guzman due to miss a lot of time at best, the Cubs are in desperate need of somebody to get the ball into Marmol’s hands.

Jeff Samardzija had a great season two years ago, but had an above-7.00 ERA in about 35 innings last season.  He is still young and raw and could return to his 2008 form.

John Grabow is the most experienced option, and the fact that he is a lefty helps out too.  However, he has never been exactly overwhelming, and with a career ERA of 4.03, he isn’t a prime option.

Esmailin Caridad is a possible option.  He had a low ERA, struck out a good amount of batters, and had two holds in 19 innings last season.  But it would be a stretch for him to come out of nowhere and be consistent all season.

The best chance that the Cubs have to fix their bullpen this season would be by some sort of trade, but Spring Training deals are rare.

Of course the Cubbie faithful could take up a different strategy in trying to fix the bullpen: pray…a lot.  Pray for Guzman’s injury to just go away, pray for Samardzija and Caridad to have magical seasons, and I can’t stress this enough, pray a lot.

Either option is viable.  And with Jim Hendry’s past, I feel the second option is more likely to work than the first.

I’m Joe W.

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