Cubs Monitoring 4 Free Agent Pitchers

The Chicago Cubs don't seem to be done tweaking their bullpen just yet. According to a report by Cubs beat writer Patrick Mooney, the team is keeping a sharp eye on lefties on the open market, and have former starter Mike Minor, as well as relievers Will Smith, Brad Hand and Zack Britton all under consideration. 

All three of the relievers are former All-Stars whose fortunes have taken a turn for the worse in recent seasons for varying reasons — injuries (Britton), poor performance (Hand), lack of opportunity (Smith). 

But the Cubs are looking to fill that left-handed spot out of the bullpen, and any of them could be worth taking a chance on, at the right price. 

Mooney reports that the Cubs have approximately $8M to play with before the first tax level triggers, and that money could easily buy them any one of the aforementioned arms. 

Smith would seem to be the least risky, as he is just one year removed from a 37-save season and a World Series title with the Atlanta Braves. But he lost his closer role after they brought in Kenley Jansen last year. He still finished 2022 with a 3.97 ERA and 9.9 K/9. 

As for Minor, 35, who's been a starter his entire 11-year career, his performance has plummeted in recent seasons, posting an ERA over 5.00 for the past three years. In 2022, his strikeout rate reached the lowest level of his career (7 K/9) and his ERA the highest (6.06). Could they be considering asking him to try his southpaw hand in the bullpen?

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