Chicago Cubs: Teams should be wary of Wade Davis

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Wade Davis
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 18: Wade Davis /

When the Chicago Cubs practically stole Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals in the 2016 winter meetings, many saw it as a steal for the Cubs. Davis was everything the Cubs expected and more, converting 32 of 33 saves and being one of the best closers in baseball. However, some of his numbers were up from previous years.

Since 2014, his first season of being a full-time reliever, Wade Davis has posted ERAs of 1.00, 0.94, 1.87, and 2.30.  The FIPs in those years were 1.19, 2.29, 2.29, and 3.38.  The Cub line was a 2.30 ERA with a 3.38 FIP. Coming into 2017, Davis had given up three home runs in three years, before giving up six this year.  Of course, a lot of that could be due to the juiced ball. Home runs were inflated around the entire league, and what is really troublesome is the inflated walk rate. Davis averaged 4.3 BB/9 this season.  His strikeout rate was up to par, though, averaging 12.1 K/9.

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Can this continue?

There is no outstanding data as to how converted relievers hold up into their 30’s.  Davis is easily the best reliever on the market, and should still get a healthy paycheck, as he should.  But, with the rising numbers every year, it’s not hard to see why teams may be wary of him, going forward.  Wade may have a few good years left, but the peripheral numbers certainly don’t favor him.

The Cubs recently hired Davis’ former pitching coach, Jim Hickey, to fill the void that was left when Chris Bosio got fired.  One could venture a guess that the Boz was fired due to the Cubs high walk rate.  Over the past two seasons, the Cubs have ranked 26th, and 30th in walks by the bullpen.

Bosio is okay, though, he landed on his feet as the Tigers’ pitching coach. It will be a chore working with those….pitchers.  Best of luck to him, really, Cubs fans owe Bosio an insane amount of gratitude.  Along with Bosio, the Cubs let hitting coach John Mallee, and third base coach Gary Jones go.  To fill those voids, the Cubs hired Chili Davis and Brian Butterfield to fill the same roles, respectively.

Next: Davis' free agency is at the perfect time

Wade is going to be a free agent this winter.  Will the Machine be more inclined to stay in Chicago now that Hickey is on board?  When the dust settles, Davis will get a hefty payday, whether it be from the Cubs, Nationals, Cardinals, or a mystery team. And he has more than earned it.  At this point in his career, though, it’s buyer beware.