Chicago Cubs are the real winners in Wade Davis deal with Colorado Rockies
By Jake Misener
Wade Davis reportedly signed a three-year, $52 million deal with the Colorado Rockies – ending any chance of him returning to the Chicago Cubs.
For a struggling Jorge Soler, the Chicago Cubs brought in Wade Davis for the 2018 season. No, the club didn’t make it back to the World Series, but the veteran right-hander did everything that was asked of him – and then some.
But, according to multiple reports, his time on the North Side is over. First reported by Jeff Passan, Davis is headed to the Colorado Rockies on a three-year, $52 million deal with a fourth-year option that could bring the value of the deal to $66 million. That option vests if the right-hander finishes 30 games in 2020.
Colorado has put together a potentially elite bullpen as they seek to unseat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. This winter, the Rockies brought in Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee to shore up the pen. In terms of payroll, they could commit north of $50 million to relievers alone in 2018.
With his $17.5 million AAV, Davis no-doubt just jacked up the market for the top two relievers available in Addison Reed and Greg Holland. Until Friday morning’s news, it had largely been all quiet on the Davis front – but Reed and Holland have been connected to multiple clubs this offseason.
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With Davis signing in Colorado, the Cubs obviously receive a compensatory draft pick next summer after the second round. Obviously, if Jake Arrieta leaves, as well, the Cubs stand to pick up a second pick in the same round (Competitive Balance Round B).
But that, in my mind, isn’t what makes this a good move for the Cubs. Three years and $52 million for Davis isn’t a move that makes you feel good once 2020 creeps in and he’s in his mid-30s. There are better fits out there that help push the team’s long-term competitiveness forward.
Emotion getting the best of Cubs fans
In recent weeks, we talked about some of these, including Miami Marlins right-hander Kyle Barraclough. Adding a cost-controlled young reliever via trade (perhaps in some type of a package deal including a starter) makes more sense than throwing $52 million.
In the immediate aftermath of the signing, I’ve noticed a trend that’s especially prevalent among Cubs fans: graduation goggles. Everyone wants to keep any player who’s donned a Cubs jersey in the last few years. It’s not just Davis, either. “Let’s bring back Travis Wood!” “What about Chris Coghlan?” “We need Wade Davis to close or we’re not even going to make the playoffs next year!”
Give me a break.
Davis was exactly what the Cubs needed last year. A reliable ninth-inning option to fill the shoes of departed closer Aroldis Chapman. But the time for relying on stopgap measures is past. Chicago needs long-term answers in the ninth inning. Believe it or not, there are plenty of options on this roster capable of handling the role.
Are the Cubs done in the bullpen this winter?
Chicago has made several bullpen signings already. Steve Cishek and Brandon Morrow joined the ranks on two-year deals. The Cubs also added lefties Dario Alvarez and Kyle Ryan, as well. Add these names to a mix including Carl Edwards, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, Justin Grimm and Dillon Maples and there’s a lot to like.
As it stands, it seems like Morrow will be the guy in 2018. Despite what many of you think, Edwards will no-doubt get a look as closer, as well. What I’m trying to say is the Cubs have plenty of choices, so don’t panic. (Like you’ll listen to me).
The more pressing issue for the Cubs is that final spot in the rotation. Similarly, they could stay in-house here, as well, with Mike Montgomery. But the feeling seems to be they’ll add someone from outside the organization – either via trade or free agency.
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Wade Davis heading to Colorado doesn’t somehow magically close the Cubs’ window of contention. This team is loaded with talent and has more than enough in the bullpen as-is to head into 2018 confidently. Theo Epstein knows his limits – and, again, didn’t push past the logical market for his former closer. This is a victory, not a defeat, for Chicago.