The Athletic’s MLB staff recently published a piece in which they identified each club’s best ‘under-the-radar’ move during the MLB offseason. Considering the plethora of moves the Chicago Cubs made, the train could have gone in any direction.
The top names like Dansby Swanson and Jameson Taillon have to be removed. Those are about as high-profile as it gets. It’s a similar story with Cody Bellinger.
With those three out of the picture, who did Patrick Mooney decide to go with?
I have to commend Mooney on the choice. Boxberger is an ‘under-the-radar’ signing, Mooney has great reasoning behind the decision, and it wasn’t an answer that was just mailed into the roundtable to appease the editor.
Here is what Mooney had to say:
“In recent years, the Cubs have excelled at identifying relievers for one-year deals and putting them in positions to succeed,” wrote Mooney.” Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, Chris Martin and David Robertson were among the players who cashed in after getting traded to playoff contenders and re-entering the free-agent market.
“Instead of flipping Brad Boxberger at the trade deadline, the Cubs hope he will pitch meaningful innings at Wrigley Field late in the season. Boxberger, 34, signed a one-year, $2.8 million contract after posting two solid seasons out of Milwaukee’s bullpen (3.15 ERA in 141 appearances). Boxberger, a first-round talent out of USC, has 82 career saves and an All-Star selection on his resume. This is someone Cubs manager David Ross will trust in high-leverage situations, and the team didn’t have many of those options by the end of last season.”
Following Boxberger’s 2015 All-Star campaign with the Tampa Bay Rays, he entered into a volatile period of his career. It is a phase that even the most talented and elite relievers can experience.
But as Mooney mentioned, Boxberger was able to find and regain his form over the last two seasons with the Brewers. The Cubs needed help in the bullpen and Boxberger’s presence will help bolster an are of weakness on the roster.
Truly a great ‘under-the-radar’ signing indeed.