The Chicago Cubs could use pitching depth, and Drew Smyly could cover both the rotation and the bullpen.
The most significant need for the Chicago Cubs this year has been the bullpen, but recently, rotation depth has been thrown into some doubt as well. Between the recent struggles of Tyler Chatwood and the injuries to both him and Jose Quintana, combined with the myriad of double-headers ahead due to COVID, it’s not a bad idea to have another solid swingman in the bullpen.
Drew Smyly could fit this need for the Cubs. So far, in 8 1/3 innings pitched, he has a 3.24 ERA with a 1.320 WHIP. It’s not anything particularly spectacular, but given that he’s only on a one year deal and the Giants are really struggling this year, they’re likely eager to move him for a reasonably light return. Granted, his numbers are based on a very small sample, but for the price, he’s worth consideration.
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Smyly’s a veteran lefty with a career ERA at 4.14 and even spent a brief time with the Cubs. After the 2017 season, the team signed Smyly to a two-year deal with the hopes of him rehabbing in the first year and joining the club in 2019. Ultimately, though, he was traded off after the team chose to pick up Cole Hamels’ option instead.
The significant benefit of adding Smyly to this team is finally giving Kyle Ryan some help from the left side of the mound. Given the injury to Brad Wieck, Ryan has been about all the Cubs have been able to “reliably” throw from the left side out of the ‘pen, and if Smyly continues his success so far, he’ll be able to take on some of that workload.
Smyly’s addition could also give the Cubs more freedom to explore their options with Quintana, even if it means trading him off. If one of Chatwood or Alec Mills struggles in that final rotation spot, it can create room for Quintana to take that opportunity. Moreover, Tommy Hottovy recently mentioned that a six-man rotation is a possibility now that Quintana is back, meaning Smyly’s role would be to fill that need for a lefty in the bullpen.
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Chicago doesn’t have a ton to trade with, making Smyly a cheap way to address a glaring issue. Acquiring him shouldn’t be an issue at all for the team and they can continue to add on alongside him. Maybe it’s time Smyly finally pitches in a Cubs uniform at the major league level.