Cubs Eye Addition Of More Pitching Help

Yu Darvish's health is a critical factor in the decision-making process.

Bernstein & McKnight Show
July 11, 2018 - 10:37 am
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, left, and general manager Jed Hoyer

Matt Marton/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) The Cubs continue to weigh the cost and benefit of adding both rotation help and bullpen help leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.

While the Cubs own the second-best team ERA in the National League (3.53), general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged that depth remains a concern. That's exacerbated by the continued absence of right-hander Yu Darvish (right elbow impingement) and the heavy workload the bullpen has already taken on as several rotation members have struggled to go deep in games in the first half of the season.

Darvish's health is a key factor in how the Cubs are evaluating the trade market.

"We have a little bit of time before that," Hoyer said of the July 31 date during an interview with Connor McKnight and Rich Campbell on 670 The Score on Wednesday morning. "We'll try to use a lot of that time to get a sense of that. Obviously, (Darvish's status) does have an impact. You'd be lying to say it doesn't. We have to have as much pitching as we possibly can. We have some long stretches in the second half without off days and things like that. I think we're going to be talking to a lot of teams about pitching and pitching depth at the deadline, and I think at some level Yu's availability probably does play into that. But at the same time, we're going to need that depth regardless because of our schedule. We'll be talking to a lot of teams and exploring a lot of opportunities to find that depth."

Hoyer admitted that for all their success in recent years, the Cubs didn't have a strong enough bullpen in 2016 or 2017. They want to rectify that this season.

"The way that playoff is played now, you don't see a lot of seven-inning starts," Hoyer said. "Teams are going to the bullpen early, and I think we got away with it in '16 by riding (Aroldis) Chapman really hard. But that year, it wasn't like we had probably the necessary depth in the bullpen. As a result, you saw at the end of the (World Series), we had to be creative. And then last year, our bullpen faltered down the stretch, and we probably didn't have enough depth. So I think that's something we really have to look at. You hit the nail on the head -- the game is played differently in playoffs. And frankly, some of that is bleeding into the season. Teams are shortening games up and not relying on starters as much. That really does put a premium on bullpen guys."