Cubs: Drew Smyly represents perfect low-cost option in 2023

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

Contrary to what you might think, Drew Smyly was pretty darned good for the Chicago Cubs in 2022. Sure, the left-hander threw only 106 1/3 innings over 22 starts; however, in that span, he spun five quality starts, and, from Aug. 6 on, the veteran posted a strong 2.98 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .221 average.

As things currently sit, Smyly is the third-highest on the roster after earning $4.25 million this past season. As previously reported by Maddie Lee of the Chicago-Sun Times, there seems to be a higher likelihood Smyly would return to Chicago on a new contract rather than coming back via the mutual option.

Lining up against the rest of the staff would present Smyly with a positive case in earning a new deal with the Cubs. Seventeen different pitchers made at least one start in 2022, including eight pitchers who made at least eight starts. The results of a mixed bag with Smyly in the center of it all as only one of three players to land north of the 20-start threshold.

Cubs: Drew Smyly is the perfect low-risk option in 2023

Having provided a solid body of work this past season, Smyly can now be seen as a perfect low-cost veteran option next season. The lefty seemed to bring a resurgence to a Cubs team who found a nice groove at the end of the schedule and can provide much of the same if the Cubs are willing to commit.

It’s worth noting the Cubs probably won’t get a crazy bargain in a new deal, despite Smyly’s love of pitching on the North Side. Across the league pitching comes at a premium, and there will be other suitors interested in his services. That being said, he’s unlikely to break the bank in any real way either.

Several prospects made promising strides this past year, including newcomer Hayden Wesneski (2.18 ERA in 33 innings), Javier Assad (3.11 ERA in 37 2/3 innings) and Keegan Thompson (3.76 ERA in 115 innings) – not to mention the breakout from left-hander Justin Steele. Things are looking up for the young arms, and Smyly could help continue to stabilize a rotation spot while the team’s young arms continue to grow.

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The Cubs system continues its meteoric ascent under Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins, especially on the pitching side of things. One area of focus remains the starting rotation, and there is nothing wrong with keeping veteran leadership on the roster to mentor this group of young arms.