Chicago Cubs: Key free agent moves since 2016 – expectation vs. reality
Chicago Cubs: Not nearly as much money spent, but still a few smaller moves to fill some holes on the defending champs.
Expectation: A veteran slap-hitting platoon/bench bat that can play solid defense in the outfield and can put up a nice batting average. Chicago Cubs fans were very familiar with him in his six years with the Cardinals.
Reality: Jay gave the Cubs exactly what was expected of him. He hit .296/.374/.375 in 141 games and switched between left and center. That .374 OBP was a career-high for him. His leadoff double to start Game 5 of the NLDS helped get the Cubs their first run, and they needed every one they got in that game.
Final Grade: B+
Expectation: A reliable piece that could pitch in the back end of the bullpen and miss bats. Uehara had a tremendous run in the majors since coming over from Japan. He was an All Star in Boston and recorded 79 saves in four years as a member of the Red Sox. After trading for stud closer Wade Davis, the Cubs further improved their bullpen.
Reality: At age 42 he overall did fine. Despite some rocky moments he still put up a 3.98 ERA, 3.79 FIP, and 10.5 K/9 in 43 innings. Not like his prime years in Boston where he accumulated a 2.19 ERA, but for a 42-year-old? Not bad.
Final Grade: B
Expectation: If healthy and all going well, a fifth starter who could fill in the hole at the bottom of the rotation. His career had seen stretches of potential, mainly with Oakland, but often derailed by numerous injuries. Still, he had shown enough promise in his career to merit a try.
Reality: An 8.18 ERA and 2.1 WHIP in six starts leading to a very short tenure in Chicago. The Cubs took a gamble and it just did not work.
Final Grade: F