Chicago Cubs News

Chicago Cubs’ season could be derailed if these things happen

Nov 2, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester throws against the Cleveland Indians in the 6th inning in game seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 2, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester throws against the Cleveland Indians in the 6th inning in game seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 2, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) talks with pitching coach Chris Bosio (right) in the 8th inning against the Cleveland Indians in game seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

No Chapman–big problems?

Love him or hate him, without Aroldis Chapman, the Chicago Cubs don’t win the World Series.

There’s nothing wrong with Hector Rondon or Pedro Strop in the ninth, but arms like Chapman are a rare thing. Thankfully, Chicago traded for another man with that kind of potential in former Royals’ closer Wade Davis this winter.

Davis, who closed the 2016 campaign on the disabled list, will inherit the ninth-inning role this spring, with Strop and Rondon serving as the bridge in the late innings. While Chapman draws more attention with his 105-mph heater, fans shouldn’t sleep on what Davis brings to this club.

Since 2014, the right-hander hasn’t seen his earned run average sit north of 2.00 – and in two of those three years, it was at or below 1.00 with at least 67 innings pitched. An All-Star in each of the past two seasons, Davis represents one of the best ninth-inning arms in the game today.

Take into account the fact that Chapman earned a five-year, $90 million deal this offseason and Davis’ value on a one-year deal following the trade seems even more impressive.

One happy family

Davis is reuniting with former teammate Ben Zobrist and his former skipper in Maddon, who worked with the right-hander early-on in his career in Tampa Bay.

While there’s no reason to believe that any lingering elbow problems exist, it is apparent Chicago is expecting a fully-loaded Wade Davis come Opening Day. Should that elbow flare up, and either Strop or Rondon have to take the ninth, the relief corps’ depth takes a big hit.

To win titles, you have to be healthy. With your slated closer coming off a year of arm troubles, albeit, with still-impressive results, you have to be conscious of that possibility. A bullpen without a bona fide lights-out closer could spell trouble come October.

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