Cubs Still Eyeing Lefty Help In Bullpen

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- With the recent signing of star closer Craig Kimbrel, the Cubs have addressed the biggest need in their bullpen.

It doesn't mean they're done fortifying the relief corps, though. The Cubs still would like to add a high-leverage lefty reliever to match up against the left-handed power hitters down the stretch and in potential playoff situations.

Kyle Ryan (4.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) and Mike Montgomery (4.70 ERA, 1.70 WHIP) are the two lefties currently in the Cubs' bullpen, and they've often lacked consistency.

"I still believe in the two guys we have out there," Maddon said of Ryan and Montgomery. "If we are talking about a third one, I don't know how we might get one in that mix based on numbers. If I put Ryan in the right spots, I think his numbers will come down. Monty is capable of getting both sides out."

Mired in last place in the National League West and 18 games back, the Giants have a pair of lefty relievers in Will Smith and Tony Watson who are high on the wish list of the Cubs and other contenders in prospective trades. The Giants have had at least one scout at every Cubs home series since mid-April and on at least two occasions had two big league scouts in Chicago. It's clear that the Cubs have been a target team of the Giants, who have also assessed the farm system.

Smith, who turns 30 in July, has a 2.19 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in 25 appearances. A setup man for most of his career, he has handled San Francisco's closing duties this season, converting all 14 of his save chances. He has struck out 35 batters and walked just five. Smith is making $4.2 million in 2019 and is set to be a free agent this offseason.

Watson, 34, has a 2.55 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 27 appearances. He has also struck out 21 batters and walked just three. Watson is making $3.5 million this season and then holds a $2.5-million player option for 2020, with a $500,000 buyout.

Both Smith and Watson are expected to be trade prior to the July 31 deadline. They're two of the best available in what projects as a thin market of lefty relievers, which means their price could be driven up.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.