Chicago Cubs: Despite closer woes, team made the right call on Wade Davis

Wade Davis / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Wade Davis / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Wade Davis / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: The former closer has fallen on hard times in Colorado

Davis lived up to the hype in Chicago, notching 32 saves – the most by a Cubs closer in a single season since Kevin Gregg‘s 33 in 2011. He ran off an impressive stretch to open the year, making 31 appearances, finishing 29 games and working to a 1.80 ERA en route to an All-Star nod.

His work wasn’t always clean – but somehow, he always got the job done when handed the ball. Of course, the moment that stands out most when looking back at his year on the North Side is his game-ending strikeout of Bryce Harper to close out the tumultuous final game of the NLDS in Washington.

The right-hander turned his impressive campaign into a successful foray into free agency. Davis inked a three-year, $52 million deal with the Colorado Rockies which, remains one of the highest AAV deals ever given to a reliever. The 34-year-old enters the final year of that contract with the highest AAV amongst big league relievers at $17.33 million.

To say the least, Davis hasn’t lived up to that salary during his two seasons in Colorado. He’s made 119 appearances – albeit, they haven’t been of the quality variety. Davis has limped to a 5.92 ERA and 1.380 WHIP. Although his 4.40 FIP suggests he’s been the victim of at least some bad luck and his numbers are largely inflated by a horrendous 2019 showing.

After leading the league with 63 games finished and 43 saves in 2018, the wheels completely fell off last year. He made 50 appearances, but got shelled to the tune of an 8.65 ERA (5.56 FIP) – fueled, at least in part, by an inflated walk and hit rate (6.1 BB/9) and (10.8 H/9).