What new veteran acquisitions bring to Cubs pitching staff
MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs had a busy day Wednesday, and that doesn’t account for the early wake-up call they had for their annual media day.
Before noon Wednesday, the Cubs had reportedly added to their pitching depth, signing lefty pitcher Steven Brault. That comes on the heels of the news that reliever Chris Martin also had signed with the team, a move that was made official Thursday afternoon.
And, of course, there was the major splash in the outfield with the Sieya Suzuki news.
Steven Brault to Cubs. @ByRobertMurray 1st— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 16, 2022
And on Wednesday afternoon, the team reached an agreement with veteran right-hander David Robertson on a 1-year major-league deal. Robertson turns 37 next month and has a 2.93 ERA in 673 career games, including 149 holds and 137 saves.
He had Tommy John surgery in August of 2019 and missed all of 2020 as a result. He returned late in 2021 to make 12 appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays and pitched 4 scoreless innings in the ALDS.
“I think everyone knows that the value of innings early in the season is going to be real,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said at the beginning of camp. “I don’t think guys are gonna be stretched out all the way.”
Brault had an injury-riddled 2021, starting only 7 games. He debuted in August after a lat strain kept him out on the IL.
In 2020, he was used as an opener, starting 10 games. In his last two outings of the COVID-shortened season, Brault pitched a 2-hit, 8-strikeout complete game against the Cardinals and then a 6-strikeout, 7-inning outing against the Cubs.
His versatility could come in handy for the Cubs, especially early in the season that comes on the heels of an abbreviated spring.
“If guys aren’t stretched out to get through the middle of the game then maybe you kind of have some planned piggybacks or things like that,” Hoyer said.
Robertson and Martin provide veteran leadership and experience to the Cubs’ bullpen. The 35-year-old Martin won the World Series last year with the Braves, pitching to a 3.95 ERA in 46 games. He was a key part of the Atlanta ‘pen last year, pitching 2.1 shutout innings in the Fall Classic.
Over his 6-year career, Martin has 59 holds and 7 saves.