The Cubs are beginning to fill out their bullpen, and right-hander Brad Boxberger’s signing follows a pattern they’re expected to embrace again this -offseason.
Boxberger and the Cubs agreed to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2024, the team announced Thursday. The deal is worth $2.8 million guaranteed, a source confirmed. Boxberger, 34, posted a 2.95 ERA with the Brewers last season.
Boxberger has closing experience, having led the American League with 41 saves in 2015 with the Rays. But he battled injuries the next couple years, limiting him to 57 appearances in the 2016 and 2017 seasons combined.
He has found consistency in the last couple years in Milwaukee, working in 70-plus games each season while -logging five saves and a 3.15 ERA.
Boxberger adds a veteran presence to a bullpen that lost just that at the trade deadline last season. Those departures were part of a cycle the Cubs have found success with in recent years.
The Cubs have filled out their bullpen with veteran relievers on short-term deals, relying on the club’s pitching infrastructure to get the most out of at least a handful of them. Then, at the trade deadline the last two years, the Cubs have traded those experienced back-end relievers to teams in the playoff hunt. The Cubs receive prospects or young major-leaguers, and the veteran relievers use their time in Chicago as a springboard.
Right-handers Chris Martin and David Robertson were on that plan last season, pitching in the playoffs with the Dodgers and Phillies, respectively, and then signing more lucrative deals this winter.
Whenever the Cubs return to playoff contention, they can hold on to those relievers in the second half and reap the benefits of their first-half progress down the stretch and into October.