As many Cubs fans know, closer Kevin Gregg is among the team’s top candidates to be dealt by the July 31st deadline. One of the top comeback players of the year figures to draw interest from teams such as the Rockies and the Tigers. The question facing the Cubs is who would take over for Gregg as closer if/when he is dealt? With former closer Carlos Marmol about to be let go, the Cubs have few players with major league closing experience. Add that in with the fact that there are very few relievers they can trust in their bullpen, and they have a major question mark as to who will close games for them.
Two such names that come to mind are James Russell and Blake Parker, their two best relievers this season, with the exception of Gregg. Parker is the only one with closing experience, however. He served as the closer for Triple A Iowa for the past few seasons and has had success. One such reason to believe that Parker is headed towards the closer’s job is that Dale Sveum gave him the opportunity in Saturday’s extra inning victory over the Mariners. Parker proved he had the goods, retiring the side in order and prompting Sveum to say:
“I guess maybe you could look at Parker because he’s done it in Triple-A if those things do come to light. But you obviously got to use somebody, so it will all be a wait-and-see situation.”
This season, Parker has posted a 2.19 ERA in 12.1 innings of work, striking out 15 and walking five. He previously appeared in seven games last season with the Cubs, posting an ERA of 6.00. Parker’s numbers, especially this season, prove he is good pitcher with a bright future, plus the fact that he has experience pitching late in games, make him a top candidate to be the Cubs closer come August as well as potentially the closer next season.