Drew Smyly could be a solid fit for the 2023 Cubs

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Drew Smyly turned in a solid outing against the Reds on Thursday night during the Field of Dreams Game. His five-scoreless inning, nine-strikeout performance lowered his season ERA to 3.69, while also sporting a 1.3 WHIP, 4.27 FIP, 7.8 K/8 and 2.2 BB/9 across 70 2/3 innings. For a guy who fairly recently spent significant time working his way back from Tommy John surgery and had to bounce around the league the past few years, Smyly has quietly been a reliable presence for Chicago this season.

It was highly speculated that the 33-year-old lefty could be flipped at the deadline to a contender, but there did not seem to be much interest in him, even for depth. While it might seem like a “loss” for the Cubs not getting anything for him, it could be the opportunity for him to show the organization staff how he could provide value beyond 2022.

Cubs could potentially keep Drew Smyly around next year

Smyly signed a one-year deal with the Cubs this offseason, which includes a mutual option for 2023. There is a $1 million buyout. It is pretty rare a mutual option is exercised, but if the Cubs see the value and Smyly wants to stay and agrees to the value he would be offered then it could happen. Even so, Chicago could like Smyly and bring him back on a new deal if he were to decline the mutual option and become a free agent.

Regardless of how it is done, there is reason to think Smyly could be a nice pitching depth piece for 2023. The goal is to improve the overall staff immensely for 2023 and the veteran left-hander could fit perfectly as a depth piece or back-of-the-rotation presence. Keeping him onboard as a fifth starter or swingman could be an easily affordable and fairly reliable option. The Cubs would ideally like to see Caleb Kilian and Jordan Wicks in the rotation mix for 2023, but veteran depth is never a bad thing to have.

Is this a crucial move for the 2023 Cubs? No. If they move on from Smyly it is certainly not the end of the world. This is just a way they could have some reliable veteran pitching depth. Smyly has a chance to prove himself and his value over the next month and a half. He could keep pitching well enough to where he seeks a better deal elsewhere.

Next. Homegrown arms beginning to shine. dark

It is easy to forget Smyly was in the Cubs organization in 2018, but never pitched in a game for them. Now he is doing some pretty solid work for the club since coming back. One cannot help but feel this is another example of the organization’s pitching personnel doing fine work with young and journeymen arms.