After pitching 13 years in the majors, pitcher Wade Davis has retired from playing baseball at the age of 36. The right-handed fireballer from Lake Wales, Florida was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devis Rays in the third round of the 2004 draft. He began his career as a starter, but transitioned to the bullpen where he excelled with the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs.
Davis concludes his career with a 3.94 ERA, 1.3 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, 929 strikeouts, 389 walks and 141 saves in 990 1/3innings pitched. He was a three-time All Star and World Series champion with the Royals.
In 2017, he was part of q division-winning Cubs team where he was the team’s lone All-Star and converted a franchise-record 32 consecutive saves. The team’s Twitter account made a tribute post on Wednesday morning when the news was announced.
Chicago Cubs: Wade Davis leaves a lasting legacy, despite a brief tenure
Despite being a Cub for just one season, Davis will be remembered fondly. After dominating with the Royals out of the pen from 2014-2016, he was acquired by the Cubs in exchange for Jorge Soler. He had one of the best seasons a Cubs closer had ever had and was one of the main reasons they made it back to the NLCS in 2017.
Going a full season at closer and blowing only one save, which came in September after the 32 consecutive successful conversions, was incredibly impressive. He was, in total, 32-for-33 in save opportunities. He also pitched to a 2.30 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 1.14 WHIP and struck out 79 batters in only 58 2/3 innings of work.
While running on fumes, Davis got some big outs in the postseason. He got the save in all three NLDS wins against the Nationals, including the roller coaster Game 5 in which he just did enough to keep a relentless Nats offense from scoring the tying and winning runs. And who could ever forget his strikeout of Bryce Harper to close out the series?
Davis also recorded a six-out save in Game 4 of the NLCS to get the Cubs their lone win in that series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even if the overall 4.26 ERA he posted in that postseason did not look overly impressive, he stepped up when needed most.
It’s also worth noting Davis also got the final outs in the NL Central division-clinching game against the Cardinals. So many huge wins that year were capped off by Davis shutting the door.
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The Cubs opted to not re-sign Davis the following offseason and the Rockies ended up offering him a multi-year deal. He converted a National League-leading 43 saves in 2018, but really began to struggle in 2019 and 2020. Fittingly Davis finished his playing career in 2021 back with the Royals.