Chicago Cubs: Wade Davis’ free agency is timely for a relief pitcher
Free agency for the Chicago Cubs’ Wade Davis couldn’t come at a more perfect time. After choosing not to pay big for Aroldis Chapman last year, the Cubs may consider doing so this season.
Each postseason the need for a dominant bullpen becomes more prevalent. Last year the fall classic was played by two teams riding the shoulders of the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
This postseason, as Chicago Cubs’ fans know too well, teams with vulnerable bullpens didn’t survive tough series. The Cubs blew leads in three of their four losses to the Dodgers in the NLCS. Now, Wade Davis enters a free agent market that’s enamored with dominant bullpen pieces.
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
A star from the start
Davis joined the Cubs in 2017 in a trade that sent Jorge Soler to the Royals. He subsequently had his name inked in Cubs’ history after going 33 straight appearances without a blown save in 2017. The Cubs would like to bring back the 32-year-old righty, but the price on dominant bullpen pieces is climbing.
After carrying the Cubs’ bullpen through the 2016 postseason, Aroldis Chapman agreed to a five-year contract worth $86 million with the Yankees. Wade Davis pitched as well, if not better than, 2016 Chapman and is likely to hear similar offers, but perhaps not from the Cubs.
Pitching gets penny-pinched
Aside from the monster contract given to Jon Lester, the current Cubs regime has shown hesitance to spend big money on pitching.
If the Cubs wanted to bring back Chapman, they could have at least matched the Yankees’ bid. They were unwilling to give a closer a big contract then and haven’t changed their feelings on closers’ dollar-worth.
Some believe the Cubs’ future closer is already on the roster in Carl Edwards Jr. Edwards posted a 2.98 ERA in 2017 in 66 1/3 innings.
If the Cubs intend for Edwards to eventually move into the closer role permanently, 2018 might be the time to make that move.
Next: Baez Gold Glove snub hard to swallow
Wherever Davis ends up in 2018, he’s bound to see a significant jump in his annual income. He is entering a market full of teams league-wide that have become obsessed with building their bullpens.
Each October demonstrates the value of having guys who can get outs in the latter part of a game. And someone is going to pay a lot in hopes that Davis will be one of those guys for them.