Chicago Cubs: Wade Davis proves that he deserves a big contract
By Ryan Tadych
The Chicago Cubs acquired the All-Star closer in the offseason and he was everything the Cubs expected.
Last December, the Chicago Cubs traded outfielder Jorge Soler to the Royals for closer Wade Davis. One year later, the 31-year old closer just completed his first season with the Cubs and showed why the Cubs made the right move to trade for him.
Davis, the Cubs lone All-Star, was 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA with 32 saves. He set a Cubs franchise record by converting 31 consecutive saves, before finally blowing one against Milwaukee in late September. Davis always did what was asked of him and quietly went about his business. Calm, cool and collected when pitching, Davis got the job done. Twice in the playoffs, he had a multi-inning save, one of which sent the Cubs to their third straight NLCS. He definitely proved that he is one of the best closers in the game, despite not having his best season statistically.
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By The Numbers
At a quick glance, Davis’ numbers this season prove that he’s an All-Star closer. Anyone would want him on the mound in the ninth. However, from a numbers standpoint, this was one of Davis’ worst seasons as a reliever. Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2014, Davis has done nothing but dominate.
However, his 2.30 ERA this season was the highest its been as a reliever. While still excellent, it’s a far cry from his 0.94 ERA in 2015. Davis also served up six home runs this season. That is more than three previous seasons COMBINED. His 4.3 walks per nine innings were the highest of his career, but his strikeout rate also surged to 12.1, significantly higher than the 9.8 he had in 2016.
So even one of Davis’ worst season still turned out to be really really good. Most wouldn’t even realize that if they didn’t dig into his numbers. As a fan, you are totally happy with the season that Davis had. The high walks and home runs total is not too concerning as all Cubs pitchers struggled with that this season. MLB set a record for most home runs hit in a single season as well.
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Cubs Should Re-Sign Him
I only gave Davis an A- because compared to his three previous seasons, he had a “down season” but was really really good still. I think the Cubs first priority should be to re-sign Davis. It will likely mean committing three or four years but it’s worth it. He proved he was healthy after having some injuries in 2016. He’s a good clubhouse guy who will do what’s asked without complaining. A shutdown closer is important to winning a championship and the Cubs need him if they want to get back to a World Series in 2018.