Chicago Cubs: Team’s biggest need isn’t a slugger, it’s a shutdown lefty

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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Will a former World Series adversary come to Chicago?

For years, it seems the Chicago Cubs have tried to land Andrew Miller. The two squared off in the 2016 World Series, coming on the heels of a masterful performance in the ACLS. Earning MVP honors against Toronto, the southpaw pitched to an incredible 0.391 WHIP and averaged 16.4 strikeouts per nine in that series.

Against Chicago, of course, he wasn’t quite as effective – we’ll always remember David Ross taking him deep in Game 7 – but he’s still one of the big-name options out there. He’s coming off a year in which he battled injuries and a lack of effectiveness, at times, but there’s hardly an indication his earning power will be hampered.

Despite averaging just under a dozen punchouts per nine in 2018, Miller made less than 40 appearances for the first time since 2013 and pitched to a disappointing 4.24 ERA and 1.385 WHIP. His 0.2 WAR, according to Baseball Reference, equaled his lowest single-season total since 2011.

Really, it all comes down to what you believe caused the ineffectiveness. If it’s the injury, then you’re ready to open up the checkbook and pay Andrew Miller. But if you think his high usage the last several years is catching up to a guy who turns 34 in May, this might not be the answer he could have been as recently as last year.