In an ideal world, we’re not talking about targeting an oft-injured back-end arm like Matthew Boyd as one of the bigger offseason targets for the Chicago Cubs, but the start of this offseason hasn’t exactly been ideal, either.
Boyd, 31, was non-tendered by the Detroit Tigers this week, which is hardly a surprise given the fact he underwent flexor tendon surgery and won’t be ready to pitch until at least next June. Prior to hitting the shelf with an injury, the southpaw had gotten off to a very solid start this year.
In his first six starts, Boyd worked to a 2.27 ERA and, all told, turned in a respectable first half. He made 13 starts and posted a 3.44 ERA. After the All-Star break, though, things headed south in a hurry. A midseason triceps injury shelved him until late in the year, when he made just two more starts, got hit hard and then was shut down with a forearm injury.
Given he’ll miss most of, if not the entire, first half of 2022, Boyd should be affordable, even to the Cubs, who have shown a particular disdain for spending any money on pitching to this point. Of course, he can’t be looked at as a solution – rather a guy who could re-establish himself upon his return and add needed depth to the staff.
Throughout seven years with Detroit, Boyd pitched just under 800 innings with a 4.94 ERA, 4.69 FIP and 1.327 WHIP. He’s never been great at missing bats – evidenced by a career 9.1 H/9 mark.
Chicago Cubs: Matthew Boyd just feels like a Jed Hoyer target, doesn’t he?
So why would the Cubs take a flier on him? Well because they’re clearly focused on the reclamation project market yet again given their complete inactivity to this point. I’m not saying they need to go get Max Scherzer because that makes no sense. But missing out on a more than palatable deal for Jon Gray irks me a great deal.
Boyd has always possessed above-average spin rates on both his curve and fastball (and we know how the Cubs love their spin rate arms), and has been decently effective in terms of chase rate. As we learned this year, you can’t ever have too many arms – and the Cubs could certainly give him the chance to pitch in 2022.