Which Free Agent Relievers Have Best Projections for 2018?

There is every indication that we’ll see a bunch of relievers coming off the board in the coming days at the Winter Meetings. FanRag’s Jon Heyman lists a few of the large group of arms that agent are predicting will be part of a run.

The Cubs kicked off the spree by signing former Dodgers relief ace Brandon Morrow, who might get a shot to close if the Northsiders don’t bring back Wade Davis. In addition to Morrow, Ken Rosenthal hints that the Cubs will sign another late-inning reliever.

So which relievers project to be the best in 2018? Here are Steamer’s projections for all relievers in 2018.

Name ERA G IP WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP
Wade Davis 3.48 65 65 1.24 10.43 3.61 3.58
Joe Smith 3.53 35 35 1.25 9.03 2.86 3.61
Anthony Swarzak 3.55 45 45 1.2 9.57 2.73 3.56
Bryan Shaw 3.58 55 55 1.28 9.16 3.22 3.62
Francisco Liriano 3.63 10 10 1.3 10.14 3.8 3.71
Tommy Hunter 3.7 30 30 1.23 8.97 2.67 3.7
Luke Gregerson 3.71 10 10 1.26 8.91 2.95 3.67
Juan Nicasio 3.75 55 55 1.26 9.71 3.25 3.79
Brandon Morrow*   3.77 65 65 1.25 9.12 2.89 3.79
Greg Holland 3.77 10 10 1.3 10.13 3.94 3.85
Jake McGee 3.85 10 10 1.25 9.5 3.1 3.92
Bud Norris 3.89 10 10 1.29 9.26 3.23 3.91
Matt Albers 3.94 10 10 1.32 8.3 3.1 3.94
Zac Rosscup 3.94 10 10 1.28 10.39 3.73 4.04
Trevor Cahill 3.97 20 20 1.37 9 3.91 3.98
Jesse Chavez 3.98 10 10 1.26 8.75 2.62 4.01
Fernando Rodney 3.98 10 10 1.39 9.22 4.28 4.08
Zach Duke 4 10 10 1.41 8.11 3.99 4.21
Pat Neshek 4.01 10 10 1.2 8.92 2.31 4.02
Shae Simmons 4.06 10 10 1.41 9.14 4.36 4.16
Brian Duensing 4.07 10 10 1.35 8.14 3.3 4.21
Addison Reed 4.08 40 40 1.25 8.89 2.64 4.02
Oliver Perez 4.09 10 10 1.32 9.87 3.87 4.24
Peter Moylan 4.11 25 25 1.41 7.5 3.57 4.22
Steve Cishek 4.12 10 10 1.35 8.56 3.53 4.15
Koji Uehara 4.13 10 10 1.21 9.42 2.63 4.21
Brandon Kintzler 4.16 10 10 1.38 6.36 2.7 4.21
Tony Watson 4.18 10 10 1.33 8.02 3.13 4.29
Jorge de la Rosa 4.21 10 10 1.37 8.21 3.54 4.29
Fernando Abad 4.26 10 10 1.37 8.38 3.62 4.42
Luke Hochevar 4.27 10 10 1.31 9.37 3.39 4.26
Sergio Romo 4.31 10 10 1.29 8.65 2.99 4.38
David Hernandez 4.36 10 10 1.32 8.69 3.17 4.36
Jason Grilli 4.36 10 10 1.33 9.74 3.85 4.44
Seung Hwan Oh 4.4 15 15 1.28 8.77 2.76 4.42
Lucas Harrell 4.42 10 10 1.46 7.7 4.09 4.5
Joaquin Benoit 4.44 10 10 1.38 8.71 3.86 4.53
Fernando Salas 4.45 10 10 1.35 8.08 3.13 4.5
Drew Smyly 4.45 2 9 1.29 8.5 2.86 4.54
Tyler Clippard 4.56 10 10 1.36 9.2 4.03 4.71
Kevin Jepsen 4.6 10 10 1.42 8.12 3.88 4.67
Mike Pelfrey 4.64 10 10 1.43 6.28 3.08 4.6
Blaine Boyer 4.69 10 10 1.44 6.58 3.25 4.7
Alfredo Simon 4.7 10 10 1.41 6.93 3.05 4.72
Joe Blanton 4.72 10 10 1.37 7.92 3.07 4.72
Andrew Bailey 4.77 10 10 1.4 7.91 3.57 4.83
Mark Lowe 4.78 10 10 1.44 7.81 3.84 4.89
David Holmberg 4.88 10 10 1.46 6.22 3.29 5.05
Jim Henderson 4.99 10 10 1.44 8.64 4.18 5.02
Huston Street 5.12 10 10 1.46 7.39 3.7 5.16
Colby Lewis 5.33 8 47 1.41 6.25 2.46 5.24

Davis obviously is the top dog on the list, but not too far off from other intriguing arms. I would¬†love the Cubs to bring in Juan Nicasio, who projects to be similar in value to Morrow. Even Francisco Liriano is interesting if he’s willing to accept a relief role, as I can see the journeyman lefty turning into an appealing multi-inning relief hybrid. Regardless, the Cubs have lots and lots of options from which to choose when supplementing their bullpen.

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