Cubs closer? Unlikely to remain Chapman

Club to 'explore every avenue' to find bullpen anchor this offseason

Cubs closer? Unlikely to remain Chapman

Aroldis Chapman is a free agent, and the Dodgers and Yankees are among the teams expected to aggressively bid for the left-hander. With Chapman likely headed elsewhere, who will close for the Cubs in 2017?

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said they are most likely to look at in-house options or a trade rather than pursue Chapman and other free-agent closers, such as Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon.

"We'll explore every avenue," Hoyer told reporters at the annual General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday. "Obviously, there's appealing guys on the free-agent market that have had great track records, but I think that closers come from all over, and in general, when you start looking where those guys come from, some of them had some bumps along the road and established themselves later on."

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The Cubs acquired Chapman from the Yankees in July in a five-player deal that included top prospect Gleyber Torres. In 28 games with Chicago, Chapman was 16-for-18 in save situations with a 1.01 ERA, but more importantly, he was a key piece in the postseason, going 2-0 with four saves in 13 playoff games.

Hector Rondon, the closer until Chapman arrived, was 14-for-18 with a 1.72 ERA before the All-Star break, but he compiled a 6.41 ERA in 22 games in the second half.

"He's had a great run with us," Hoyer said of Rondon. "That trade [for Chapman] was not made because we didn't have confidence in [Rondon]. It was made because of the way baseball is played in October."

Another option the Cubs could consider is right-hander Carl Edwards Jr., who compiled a 3.75 ERA in 35 relief appearances.

"You never know who that guy's going to be," Hoyer said. "If you stop thinking that way, you have no chance to find that guy. You always want to think like, 'OK, who is going to be that next Andrew Miller? Who's going to be that next Wade Davis?'"

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.