CHICAGO – The Cubs led the National League in bullpen ERA last season at 3.35, but there was plenty of unease about the pen heading into the offseason.
On Thursday, the Cubs addressed the relief situation by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with right-hander Brad Brach, according to sources. The free-agent contract is worth a reported $3 million with a mutual option for 2020.
The deal will be finalized once Brach passes a physical exam.
Brach, 32, pitched for the Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves last season, compiling a record of 2-4 with a 3.59 ERA, 12 saves and a 1.60 WHIP in 69 games. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder worked 622/3 innings, giving up 72 hits while walking 28 and striking out 60.
The Orioles traded Brach to Atlanta on July 30, and he went on to pitch twice in the division series against the Dodgers.
A 42nd-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2008, Brach came up in 2011 and pitched for the Padres through the 2013 season. He was traded to Baltimore in November 2013.
For his career, Brach is 31-23 with a 3.08 ERA, 33 saves and a 1.27 WHIP in 424 games, all in relief.
The Cubs had trouble finding consistency out of the bullpen last season as Carl Edwards Jr. and Brian Duensing both struggled with command, and side-armer Steve Cishek faded down the stretch.
The Cubs’ bullpen also was beat up late last season, with closer Brandon Morrow missing the post All-Star-break portion of the season with an elbow injury that required a cleanup in the fall. He likely will not be ready to start the 2019 season on the active list. Morrow’s replacement, Pedro Strop, hurt his hamstring running out a batted ball in early September and missed the rest of the regular season.