With the Cubs leading the National League and a tight playoff race ahead, the team may need to bulk up. But the Cubs should not go after Zach Britton.
The Zach Britton sweepstakes has a lot of players. Certain reports have the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Brewers, Astros and Yankees all vying for Britton. While the Cubs do not appear to be in the lead for Britton, the situation has been called "fluid" by Ken Rosenthal on twitter.
The price for Britton will high, and each of the teams attempting to acquire Britton have a better farm system than the Cubs. For the Cubs to turn the tables and grab Britton, it will require more players or more cash than other teams.
Chicago will need to acquire more pitching at the deadline, due to the lack of innings Cubs starters have pitched, but that can be done without Britton. One option in particular is Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough.
Barraclough has an ERA a full run lower, 10 saves this season, he is two years younger and I would rather purchase a Barraclough jersey than a Britton jersey. Both players are currently on the final year of their one-year contract, but Barraclough is eligible for arbitration until 2021.
Barraclough's ERA since 2015
Every season in the major leagues Barraclough has posted a SO/9 ratio over 10—Britton has done that once in his seven MLB seasons. Barraclough is also healthy, in the past two seasons he has pitched over 66 innings per season, and is on pace to do so again this year.
Britton, who injured his achilles last season, has only 52.3 innings pitched in the last two seasons. The Cubs need innings from pitchers and a player coming off a major surgery is not the best option.
Brandon Marrow, Brian Duensing and CJ Edwards have all missed time this season for a variety of reasons, the Cubs as a team have used 25 pitchers—not including position players. A pitcher who has saved games before and has proven longevity is a vital piclup. Yes, I know Britton has more career saves than Barraclough, but Britton just returned from injury.
With Britton still on the market the Cubs may be able to swoop in and take Barraclough before multiple bidders drive up the price. Make no mistake, Barraclough will not be cheap, but what you get in return may be greater.