All eyes are on the Cubs right now, but not because of Wada. Chicago will be introducing new manager Joe Maddon later on today, so this signing will go quietly but won’t go unnoticed. Wada finished his rookie campaign with a 4-4 win/loss record and posting a not-too-bad 3.25 ERA while issuing 19 walks and striking out just 57 batters in 69 1/3 innings of work.
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The 33-year-old Japanese born southpaw joined the Cubs rotation after Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer completed a trade that sent both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics, opening a few spots in the rotation. Epstein and Hoyer had a $5 million option to either pick up or decline when it came to Wada and there were some who thought the team would let him walk.
With the Cubs having starting pitching at the top of their priority list heading into the Winter Meetings next month, Wada will more than likely compete to become the teams number five starter, depending on who they bring in.
He definitely gives them some depth but may end up competing with fellow lefty Travis Wood, who saw his production drop in 2014. With only fellow left-hander Wesley Wright in the bullpen, Wada could find use there if he fails to make the starting rotation.
So far the early part of the off-season has looked great for the Cubs and could end up getting better over the next couple months before the team reports to camp in February, as they have moved up higher on the lists for several free agent according to outside sources with no internal knowledge of the situation.