Despite his recent struggles in Cactus League play, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon says he isn’t worried about new closer Wade Davis as Opening Night nears.
Yesterday, we broke down some of new Chicago Cubs’ closer Wade Davis’ struggles. In short, he hasn’t looked very good – at least on paper.
He boasts the second-highest ERA on the staff in Cactus League play and, given the importance of his role, his inability to consistently throw clean innings has been worrisome.
To everyone except his manager, that is.
"“I like him in this role a lot,” Maddon told CBS Chicago. “I am not concerned. If he was physically unable to do the job, that would be one thing. I think he looks really good physically right now.”"
More from Cubbies Crib
- Cubs should keep close eye on non-tender candidate Cody Bellinger
- Cubs starting pitching has been thriving on the North Side
- Make no mistake: the Cubs are very much about power hitters
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- Cubs: It’s time to start thinking about potential September call-ups
Davis is coming off a 27-save campaign with the Kansas City Royals last season. The right-hander experienced a forearm injury that curtailed his campaign, but he was still dominant at the back of the Kansas City bullpen.
Since 2014, the two-time All-Star holds a 1.14 ERA across 182 2/3 frames. He’s also averaging over 11 strikeouts per nine during that stretch.
High expectations await Davis
The job he inherits comes with high expectations. The last man to hold it, Aroldis Chapman, was absolutely dominant over the season’s second half. That run continued into the postseason, where Maddon relied heavily upon his flame-throwing lefty.
"“… There is no comparison between a regular and spring training game. My bigger concern would be if somebody was not healthy, if you’re fighting an issue physically and then the results are not there. To me, that would be a larger concern. If you are physically well and the results aren’t there, I am OK. A lot of it is you need an adrenaline rush. A lot of it is a moment you just can’t recreate. You can’t do it. It is just impossible. Let’s get back to a regular routine. I think you will see him just fine. I really do.”"
Davis will team up with former Cubs closer Hector Rondon, veteran Koji Uehara and setup man Pedro Strop to form the back end of the relief corps. Maddon has multiple weapons at his disposal. If Rondon and Strop can return to form and Davis proves dominant, Chicago could feature one of the best bullpens in Major League Baseball.