MESA, Ariz. — Sure, Carl Edwards Jr. competence find his approach into a Cubs’ ninth-inning brew in Apr with closer Brandon Morrow sidelined, generally with Pedro Strop nursing a bruise hamstring.
But a spare reliever with a absolute right arm has a bigger finish diversion in mind as he prepares for his third full deteriorate in a majors.
Say hello to a Cubs’ closer in 2020?
‘‘As we pronounce today, in a ideal world, yeah,’’ Edwards, 27, said. ‘‘That’s my goal.’’
Carl Edwards Jr. (John Antonoff photo)
The Cubs have talked about Edwards’ tough fastball and pointy violation round as ninth-inning things roughly given he got to a large leagues for good in a center of a 2016 season.
‘‘I’ve pronounced for years that he’s means of being that,’’ manager Joe Maddon said. ‘‘It’s usually going to come down to him autocratic his pitches.’’
If a perplexity pierce Edwards has adopted as partial of his smoothness continues to work as it has so distant this spring, a ideal charge competence be brewing that creates his 2020 prophesy realistic.
After fighting authority slumps given removing to a majors, Edwards borrowed a postponement usually before delivering a round from examination video during a offseason of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who had borrowed it from teammate Clayton Kershaw.
It has a effects of creation a 6-3 Edwards’ final pierce to a image some-more compress and a baseball, in theory, easier to command, with no detriment of velocity.
‘‘I’m not going to contend it’s 100 percent, though it’s solemnly removing there,’’ pronounced Edwards, who hasn’t walked a beat this open and skeleton to lift a new pierce into a season. ‘‘I’m really, unequivocally gentle with it. It’s something that we wish will take my diversion past a subsequent level.’’
If he can cut his career travel rate of 4.9 per 9 innings in half, that competence be a disproportion in earning adequate trust to acquire a shot during a ninth inning.
That competence make this an generally critical deteriorate for Edwards — for what he can do for a Cubs group with Oct on a mind and what he can do for his career.
The Cubs have 5 pitchers on their register with during slightest a half-season of shutting experience. None is underneath agreement for subsequent season.
Morrow, who was lights-out when he pitched final season, missed some-more than half of 2018 with dual injuries and frequency has had a full deteriorate of good health. Picking adult his $12 million choice for 2020 competence be an costly tablet to swallow, even if he comes behind in May and pitches good a rest of a season.
Which is to contend a Cubs don’t have a 2020 closer as they open 2019.
But Edwards, who started a 10th inning of Game 7 of a 2016 World Series as a rookie, is still underneath bar control for during slightest dual some-more years. And determined.
‘‘If he [shows command], he positively has a kind of things to be that guy,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘So watch it as a season’s in progress.’’
For now, Edwards will open a deteriorate as one of during slightest 4 pivotal late-inning options for Maddon. That competence meant occasional ninth-inning work with Morrow out, though it some-more mostly will meant hot-spot setup work in a seventh or eighth.
‘‘Just chuck strikes,’’ Edwards pronounced of his concentration for 2019.
And if that happens, watch out in 2020.
‘‘I get that role, and my thing is to be means to attain — not usually being named [closer],’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not going to contend we design a ideal deteriorate closing. But if we fail, say, dual times out of a whole year, afterwards I’m successful.’’
Of a 15 pitchers in a majors with during slightest 30 save chances final season, usually one blew as few as dual (the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman was 30-for-32).
‘‘That’s usually how I’m looking during it,’’ Edwards said.