The Chicago Cubs are a .500 team at this point in the season, and a big reason why is the inconsistency coming from the bullpen, which ranks in the bottom third of baseball in terms of ERA (5.22).
The bullpen had its problems last season (in addition to previous others), but they were never addressed this winter in a serious way, meaning they'd have to rely on the likes of Carl Edwards Jr. Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek and closer Brandon Morrow.
The problem with that plan is Morrow, the best reliever they have, was going into the season on the shelf, and now after suffering a setback following surgery back in December, who knows when he's coming back.
The part about this news that is particularly frustrating is that you can't be surprised by it. Everyone, from the fans to the front office, knew this was a very real risk (especially after setbacks last year, and then a resulting surgery). Yet bargain/volume approach was taken.— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) April 20, 2019
Morrow has a laundry list of injuries over the course of his 12-year career, which is why the Cubs should've been more proactive this offseason when it came to the bullpen. On top of that, Morrow was never a true closer and didn't start truly producing until his age-30 season. No offense to Morrow and his late-career blossom, but is that the kind of player the Cubs truly need at the back end of the bullpen?
Morrow is the most high-profile patchwork signing the Cubs have made to save money. Cishek, Brandon Kintzler, and Mike Montgomery are a few others.
The Cubs haven't seriously invested in a reliever since Aroldis Chapman, and look what happened that year.
I'll give the current unit credit for doing much better over the last week, but how long will that continue?
Chicago claimed they didn't have the financial flexibility to make any major additions to the roster, but that's what happens when you give Tyler Chatwood $38 million over three years and Yu Darvish $126 million over six years.