Cubs News: What the Cubs could have in Zach Davies next season

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Zach Davies, the one MLB-ready guy in the Yu Darvish trade, is key for the Cubs.

Emotions are still running high after the announcement was made Monday night that Cubs ace Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini would be heading to San Diego. The return is not necessarily what many had hoped for but, regardless, five assets are coming back to Chicago. The one MLB-ready asset is righty starting pitcher Zach Davies.

Davies, 27, is no stranger to Cubs fans after spending five years with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has faced the Cubs 19 times in his career, more than any other team, and now he will wear the blue pinstripes. In 123 career starts he sports a career 3.79 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 4.18 FIP, 6.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 9.1 fWAR.

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He is a groundball/contact pitcher who primarily throws in the high-80s. Sinkers and offspeed pitches are his primary weapons. He has overall good command with his pitches as he has never walked over 55 in a season. Davies is often known as a “poor man’s Kyle Hendricks” with his pitching style and approach being similar. While Davies is not quite as good of a pitcher as Hendricks, his career numbers are still pretty solid.

How Zach Davies can contribute to the Cubs in 2021

As of right now the Cubs rotation is pretty thin with a lot of unknowns. Davies is right now the second-most experienced starter on the team behind Hendricks, considering the other projected starter options on the roster include Adbert Alzolay, Alec Mills, Colin Rea, Tyson Miller and Brailyn Marquez. Depending on what they do this offseason, Davies might have to take a middle-of-the-rotation role.

Davies is coming off a very good year in San Diego, pitching to a 2.73 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.1 WHIP and career-high 8.2 K/9 in 12 starts. In normal seasons he has been typically a high-threes ERA with a FIP in the low-fours, which is not surprising since he uses a lot of contact to get outs and does not overpower anyone. He is a career 46 percent groundball pitcher and will have a good defense behind him, which is an obvious advantage.

In a potential 162-game season next year (28-30 starts) a reasonable expectation for Davies is in the ballpark of a 3.80 ERA, 1.3 WHIP, 115 strikeouts, 55 walks and a 4.30 FIP. It is worth noting that he sports a career 3.70 ERA and 1.3 WHIP at Wrigley Field.

Davies is entering his final year of control and will become a free agent after 2021. It is really in the best interest of the Cubs to get a good year from him, especially if they look to flip some guys at the deadline depending where they are in the standings. If he is having a solid year and the Cubs are in sell mode, he could draw some interest from contenders looking to shore up the rotation. He is not a type who would bring a blockbuster but some value in return could be possible.

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Zack Davies is nowhere near the talent-level of Yu Darvish, but he is a pretty solid pitcher. The Cubs will need to make sure they add more depth to the rotation by whatever means they are willing to.