The Chicago Cubs have inked former Orioles and Braves pitcher Brad Brach to a 1 year, $4.35 million contract. Brach’s contract also includes options that could take it up to 2 years, $9.5 million.
After the departure of Jesse Chavez and the injury prone nature of Brandon Morrow, it was a clear need to add another back-end bullpen arm for the Cubs. Brad Brach is just the man for this job. Brach will be 33 for the 2019 season and has the potential to be a real diamond in the rough signing for the Cubs.
In 2018, the righty posted a 3.59 ERA over 62.2 IP between the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. After being flipped to the Braves, Brach greatly improved his play. Over 23.2 innings with the Braves, Brach put up a 1.52 ERA and punched out 22 batters. Perhaps where Brach most improved in his time with the Braves was that in limiting the long ball. With the Orioles, he allowed 0.9 HR/9. However, in his time in Atlanta, he lowered that rate to 0.4 HR/9. Also after switching teams, he lowered his WHIP from 1.769 to 1.310, a significant improvement.
Brach is also not far removed from being a very dominant bullpen arm. In 2016, Brach was an All-Star for the Orioles. In that season, Brach pitched 79.0 innings with a strong 2.05 ERA in front of Zach Britton. From 2013 to 2017, Brach’s ERA sat at 2.79 over 319.2 IP. Those seasons were also good for a WHIP of 1.195 and 9.5 K/9. Although Brach did not have his best year in 2018, he has shown sustained success in the back end of the bullpen and the Cubs will do their best to recapture some of his prior dominance.
The Cubs disappointed in 2018 when they faltered in the wild card round of the postseason. Heading into the winter, it was clear that Theo Epstein and company needed to address the holes within the team. Although Brach is not the flashiest signing, he solidifies the back end of what could have been a potentially vulnerable bullpen. The Cubs cheap signing of the former All-Star could be one of the steals of the offseason if he is able to limit the home runs and strikeout batters at the same rate he did from 2013-2017. Signing Brach is a great move for a team looking to make a deep postseason run.
Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison
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