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Cubs' closer competition wide open

Cubs' closer competition wide open

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Cubs' closer competition wide open

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cubs may go to Spring Training and let the relievers battle it out for the closer's job.

"In theory, we can," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday at the baseball Winter Meetings. "I think we have people on the roster who can certainly hold down that job. At that point, it would be on [manager Rick Renteria] to name a closer in Spring Training. I'm not sure that will happen or not. I think we have more power arms on the roster and we feel better about our bullpen. We do still want to add to it."

The list of candidates includes Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon. However, the Cubs are looking at adding some relievers and hoping the chance to be a closer could entice some free agents.

"In free agency, opportunity is a great thing," Hoyer said. "When you have that opportunity, it's something you can take advantage of."

Renteria did admit that managing the bullpen is the "most critical part of the ballgame." He'd like to have roles established for each pitcher.

"We're a club that's in transition," Renteria said Tuesday. "Like on any baseball club, roles are defined over time and established by the players who are out performing, and over time, they chip away at who they are and what they're about. I think you need to use your bullpen according to the situation."

Kevin Gregg took over the closer's duties last season when Carlos Marmol struggled and was then traded and Kyuji Fujikawa was injured. Gregg is now a free agent.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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