Before the Chicago Cubs acquired Matt Garza via trade this off-season, they were heavily invested into finding a starting pitcher who was considered to be a reclamation project. Among the pitchers they looked at were Brandon Webb, Jeff Francis, Jeremy Bonderman, and Chris Young. One player that was not on that list was 35 year-old Doug Davis. Davis only made 10 starts for Milwaukee last season, as his season was plagued by an inflammation in the lining of his heart, and elbow surgery. However with the Cubs finding out how easy it is for a team’s rotation to collapse due to injuries, they pursued Davis as a veteran that can provide long-term depth.
The Chicago Cubs announced today that they have signed Davis to a minor-league contract, and he will report immediately to extended spring training in Arizona. The Cubs have already been in attendance at some of Davis’ tryouts this spring, and Davis has a already worked his pitch limit to 72 pitches.
The preliminary plan for Davis is for him to spend the next week or two in extended spring training, and then be with the Iowa Cubs by the end of the month. After that point, Davis will likely get a handful of starts to go along with his rehab assignment. By that point, it is likely that the Cubs will call Davis up to the major league team. Obviously the process can be accelerated or slowed depending on the quality of production Davis shows.
As Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago already noted, if Davis regains form he could be a welcomed addition to the Cubs’ pitching staff. If you remember back in 2007, Davis was one of three Diamondback pitchers to earn a victory in the Diamondbacks’ sweep of the Cubs in the NLDS. Unlike the recent signing of Ramon Ortiz, I think the addition of Davis holds much more significance to the Cubs’ 25 man roster. If healthy, Davis gives the Cubs a capable left-handed pitcher that can pitch out of the rotation and out of the bullpen. The proverbial “swing-man” as we like to call it nowadays.