If Chatwood is as wild as he was last year, the Cubs might have to just dump him one way or another. Either way, it will cost the Cubs millions of dollars in wasted salary to do so. But if Chatwood can salvage his Cubs career by contributing in the bullpen and perhaps being starting pitching depth, the Cubs will get at least some value out of the $25.5 million remaining on his contract.
As bad as we feel about Duensing’s 2018, don’t forget how good we felt about his 2017. If Duensing gets healthy and pitches like its 2017 again, the $3.5 million he earns next season will feel like as much of a bargain as we thought it was going to be when he originally resigned with the Cubs last offseason.
Kintzler didn’t pitch well after he was traded to the Cubs last year. Again, we felt this way about Justin Wilson after his trade to the Cubs in the 2017 season. Wilson recovered to be one of the most dependable arms for the Cubs bullpen in 2018. Like Wilson, Kintzler had a substantial history of success before his trade to the Cubs. So perhaps Kintzler is due for a similar bounce-back type of season.
We saw some glimpses in 2018 of the player we thought Heyward be might when he originally signed a free agent contract with the Cubs. For a significant stretch of the season, he was hitting third in batting order and even hit a walk-off grand slam.
It’s likely that Heyward will never be as good as we all hoped he was going to be when he first signed with the Cubs. But if the Cubs pay more than half a $100 million for him to play on another team that probably is a poor use of the budget.
Its not as if Heyward doesn’t contribute at all. His offense has been valuable at times. His defense is valuable. His leadership already helped the Cubs win the World Series.
There are rare occasions where even this front office has deemed it necessary to pay a player to play for another team. The Cubs might find themselves at that point with Chatwood this coming season. But if at all possible you want to avoid doing that. I suspect that is part of the reason the additions to the bullpen that some are clamoring for haven’t happened this offseason. Chatwood, Duensing and Kintzler are going to be given every opportunity to fill those roster spots. Heyward will in all likelihood finish out his contract in a Cub uniform. These players are more valuable to the team as Cubs than in another team’s uniform.