Cubs add another veteran piece to the bullpen
MESA, Ariz. — During the spring training opening press conference, Jed Hoyer teased a new addition to the Cubs bullpen.
Rumors started circulating the next morning that the addition was Brandon Workman and the Cubs confirmed that deal Thursday.
Workman’s arrival adds another veteran name into a bullpen picture that already featured a long list of players vying for the eight or nine spots on the Opening Day roster.
The 32-year-old right-hander was drafted by Theo Epstein’s front office in Boston in 2010. He spent almost his entire career with the Red Sox before being traded to the Phillies in August of last season.
Over his six years in the big leagues, Workman has a 3.89 ERA in 209 appearances (18 starts). He has notched 25 saves — all of which have come in the last two seasons — and boasts a career 9.5 K/9 rate.
Workman was especially valuable in 2019 when he went 10-1 with a 1.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 16 saves and a whopping 104 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. He sits about 93 mph with his fastball and primarily uses a cutter and curveball out of his repertoire.
Workman also has decent postseason experience, having won the World Series with the Red Sox in both 2013 and 2018. Cubs manager David Ross played on that 2013 team and has firsthand knowledge of what Workman brings to the table.
“The year he had in ’19 was really impressive out of the bullpen in Boston,” Ross said. “He’s been around, he’s got a veteran presence. [He was a] part of that deal last year going to Philadelphia and then just struggled a little bit there.
“He’s a true 4-seam ride/breaking ball guy, which is really big in the game right now. He’s a guy that is a really good competitor, great teammate, fun to be around, works his tail off, does anything you ask.
“I see him pitching big innings for us. The bullpen’s kinda shaping up nicely with a lot of options down there as things are unfolding.”
Historically, Workman has been able to find success against both left-handed hitters and righties, as his splits are essentially neutral.
Workman has plenty of experience working in high-leverage situations and figures to slot in as one of Criag Kimbrel’s primary setup men alongside Andrew Chafin and Rowan Wick.